News of so-called retail chain hacks fill the Internet every week nowadays it seems. If you are an Internet user, you have probably grown accustomed to reading news about online hacks that resulted in user data getting into the wrong hands.
Hacks targeting retail stores and chains on the other hand did not make the news that frequently before, but all of that changed when news broke that the hack of Target has resulted in the theft of up to 110 million customer data sets including credit card numbers.
Target is not the only retail company that has been hacked recently. News broke today that craft store Michaels may also have been hacked shortly after it became known that Neiman Marcus was also hacked.
Affected customers have been advised to monitor credit card statements carefully, and many even got a new credit card number in the process to avoid misuse from happening.
So how could you have protected yourself -- your money and data -- from being hacked in first place? Easy: Pay cash whenever you buy in local stores, and never reveal information when you are asked to.
The wonderful thing about cash is that companies do not need to store any data about your purchase when they accept it. If you pay using a credit card, the card number, expiration date, and maybe even the security code get saved alongside other information linked to that card.
While it may be convenient to pay using a card, it is also making it necessary that retailers store the card information. And just like it is the case on the Internet, you do not really know how well those information are protected.
Besides information that are directly related to the purchase, stores may also store other information about you, if you tell them. Information such as your email address or zip code may also be stored if you answer questions asked when you are making a purchase locally.
Paying cash is as anonymous as it gets on the other hand. You make the purchase and that is about it. No information that can be linked to you is recorded, which also means that hacks won't affect you.
A side-effect of this is that it does give you more control over money as well. The change of overspending is a lot higher if you are using cards for making payments. With cash money, you can only spend as much as you have on you.