Weeks after Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, the island remains a scene of mass devastation and chaos. Collapsed buildings, damaged roads, gas shortages and power outages have left its residents—who need food and other basic necessities—no choice but to use cash for all purchases. Stores are unable to process credit and debit card transactions, or even government-issued benefits, due to electrical and communication outages and damaged payment processing equipment.
Thanks to the credit reporting agency Equifax, many Americans, who previously were unconcerned about their personal data, now have their eyes opened to the devastation that a cyberattack makes possible. The recent massive security breach exposed the personally identifiable information of more than 143 million Americans, including social security numbers, birth dates and home addresses, earning non-stop national headlines. These data elements give hackers all the tools they need to succeed in identity theft to perpetrate other serious crimes.
The nation has been captivated by hurricanes and earthquakes these last few weeks, as they have wreaked havoc in communities across the continent. The disasters have ignited conversations about how people should prepare for such horrific events. While many people are quick to think of necessities such as generators, food, water and first aid kits, cash isn’t typically part of the plan. However, when natural disasters strike, electricity is likely to go out, so having a plan for how to pay for things post event is critical.
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