Educating Users on Account Protection

Protecting user's online accounts is a main concern for businesses right now. Yesterday, when I received this email from Tom Sullivan at the Merchant Risk Council I felt compelled to share it with others. It's imperative that customers need to be more cautious with their online accounts and the only way for this to happen is through information sharing and educating customers. This MRC letter provides some helpful tips and insights for keeping your customer's accounts secure.

“In an increasingly connected world, MRC members, along with a growing number of other retailers, are witnessing increased attempts by hackers targeting customer accounts at online retail sites and compromising stored user information.

The MRC recognizes that protecting the privacy of customer information is of the utmost importance to our members and the retail community as a whole.  In order to increase public awareness of this type of cybercrime, we are sharing the following information with our members and encouraging them to alert and educate their customers on the best methods to curtail hacker attacks on customer online accounts.

These hackers may be acquiring username/password combinations from previous data breaches and are using the same combinations to gain access to additional online customer accounts at other retailer websites. As a precaution, and for good business sense, we urge you to work closely with your public relations and marketing teams to determine the best way to inform your customers on how to protect their online information by updating their account passwords, and to refrain from using the same passwords across different accounts.

The Identity Theft Resource Center, a nonprofit organization at the forefront of consumer protection issues, suggests that consumers do the following to help protect their online identity:

  • Create strong passwords and change them often
  • Develop passwords with more than 8 characters in length, containing both capital letters and at least one numeric or other non-alphabetical character
  • Use non-dictionary words when possible

If you have additional tips about how to protect customer privacy, please feel free to send them to the MRC so that we may share these best practices through our various member channels. We look forward to your feedback.

”For more information on the Merchant Risk Council, check out their website.

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