If you have bought video games or anything else from American retailer GameStop in the last few months, you may be worried about the news about the GameStop credit card hack.
That’s because the company announced yesterday it had been notified by sources in the financial industry it looked like GameStop’s website had been compromised. And, as part of that breach, vital customer information had probably been stolen.
Before you start panicking about your credit card being accessed and used illegally, however, here is what you need to know about the GameStop credit card hack, and what you can do to protect the cards you may have previously used there.
When did the GameStop credit card hack take place?
Experts who are looking into the hack say it looks as though the hack took place between mid-September 2016 and the first week of February 2017. That means, if you used your credit cards any time after the first week of February this year, your data is probably safe.
What information did the GameStop credit card hackers take?
While it is always difficult to know exactly what data a hacker took, the same experts believe customer card numbers, expiration dates, your name, address and card verification value (CVV2) — that 3-digit code on the back of your card — is the information that was stolen.
How do financial industry sources know there was a hack?
According to GameStop, the people from the financial industry that contacted them about the breach said credit card and personal information from GameStop customers was being sold on a website. That is when they contacted the company to tell them about the likely hack to their system.
What is GameStop doing about the hack?
The company seems to have been extremely proactive in its efforts to solve the problem.
Upon being contacted about the breach of their computer system, they immediately hired a leading security firm to start an investigation into the possible hack. You can probably expect to receive information from them sometime this week with what they already know, as well as what they plan on doing in the future to protect their customers.
What can you do to protect your cards and your credit rating?
Meanwhile, there are things you can do to protect yourself from GameStop’s credit card hack, or any other hack for that matter:
- Check your credit card account online — Don’t wait for GameStop to contact you, or for your credit card company to give you a call. Instead monitor your credit card account online every day. That will give you a heads up if a charge you do not recognize suddenly crops up. You can then call your credit card company and tell them you believe your card information was stolen during the GameStop credit card hack, as you did not make that charge.
- Get a replacement card — Don’t let your credit card company fob you off. Immediately after you have told them about the charge you did not make, request they send you a new card with a new number. That way your original account gets closed out, hackers are no longer able to use it, and you are no longer remotely liable for any charges made.
- Freeze your credit reports — You can also call every credit reporting agency and ask that your credit reports be frozen. That means if anyone tries to open up another credit card or another charge account at any store anywhere in your name, if the store tries to check your credit they will not be able to. This can prevent new credit cards accounts being opened in your name, and your credit rating being completely ruined.
While the GameStop credit card hack is annoying and, for some people a little scary, it does not mean your financial information has definitely been stolen.
Keep an eye on your accounts though, and be proactive if you see anything suspicious, and you should be able to prevent any long-term damage from any of your information being stolen during the GameStop credit card hack.
I'm a former radio DJ, an ex non-profit Director of Development, and a left-wing human rights advocate with a 20 year background in gay rights and HIV/AIDS rights advocacy. I'm also an avid video game player. Minecraft is my obsession.