Business

Michelle Singletary column: Coping after the Target data breach

Despite data breaches, Americans remain wedded to using plastic for their purchases.
Despite data breaches, Americans remain wedded to using plastic for their purchases.Getty Images/File 2013

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We’ve lost the battle to protect our identities. Once information from our credit and debit cards is transmitted, it’s out of our control. The latest high-profile data breaches confirm we are forever vulnerable.

In mid-December, Target said criminals had forced their way into its computer system and accessed customer credit and debit card information. Initially, Target said 40 million shoppers were affected.

Last week, the retailer said data for an additional 70 million customers — names, phone numbers, e-ail addresses — had been stolen.

With your information, thieves can do a lot of financial harm. They can access your bank account, open utility or mobile phone accounts, or get medical treatment using your health insurance.

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