Park ‘N Fly (PNF), an airport parking service, recently confirmed that it experienced a security breach affecting customers’ payment card data. The company uses an online reservation system, allowing customers to reserve parking before their travel dates. Cyber-criminals apparently were able to hack into the website to see the information saved under customer accounts.
“While the investigation is ongoing, it has been determined that the security of some data from certain payment cards that were used to make reservations through PNF’s e-commerce website is at risk,” announced the company on its website. “The data potentially at risk includes the card number, cardholder’s name and billing address, card expiration date, and CVV code. Other loyalty customer data potentially at risk includes email addresses, Park ‘N Fly passwords, and telephone numbers.”
According to security expert Brian Krebs, payment card information that has been stolen from an online source cannot then be encoded onto a blank plastic card and used in brick-and-mortar stores. However, the cardholder’s name, card number, billing address, expiration date and CVV code can be used to make fraudulent web-based transactions.
It’s not yet clear exactly how many customers were affected in the breach.
How can you protect yourself from identity theft?
No one can prevent identity theft completely, but there are some steps you can take to make your personal information more secure. Here are some identity theft protection tips to follow, particularly if you’re a customer with Park ‘N Fly:
- Be on the lookout for phishing attempts: If you’re a Park ‘N Fly loyalty customer, then more than your payment card data might have been exposed. Your email address and telephone number may not seem like highly secure pieces of information, but criminals can use them to execute phishing attacks in hopes of gaining enough data to steal your identity. For instance, a thief may call you on the phone or send you an email posing as a legitimate institution, such as a bank or company. They will then solicit your sensitive identifying information, like your Social Security number or your banking passwords. Keep in mind that criminals can make webpages and phone calls look and sound authentic, so make it a policy to never give out information that has been actively solicited. You should also avoid clicking on any links in these emails because this could cause malware to be downloaded onto your computer. If you have questions, call the number on your payment card to see if action is really necessary on your part.
- Change your passwords: Park ‘N Fly loyalty customers may have had their account passwords stolen in the breach. If you use the same password for all your accounts, this means that cyber-criminals are able to access everything from your Facebook page to your bank account. Change your passwords every three months and use a different one for every account. If you have trouble remembering your long, complicated passwords, don’t give in to the temptation of writing them down. Instead, invest in an online password manager to keep your passwords encrypted and secure, yet still easily accessible to you.
- Check your bank statements: Since payment card information was compromised in the breach, it’s important that you check your bank statements frequently and regularly. It might help to establish a daily time to look at your payment history, so that you get in the habit of keeping up with your accounts. Look for any purchases you don’t remember making, and contact your bank immediately if you detect foreign activity. The sooner you discover id theft, the faster you can get the situation resolved.
- Consider enrolling in a credit monitoring service to alert you to certain changes related to your financial data: While they cannot guarantee total protection from fraud, they can help you take a proactive approach to protecting your identity.
Data breaches will continue to occur in the future, but adhering to these security tips will ensure you’re doing everything you can to protect your personal information.