Data breach is frequent in modern days, but sensitive data can be stolen without you knowing about it. More than 100 million people report data breaches every year which include passwords, financial data, phone numbers, addresses, and other personal data. When a breach occurs, criminals may try to access your account by using your email address and password, as well as by attempting to log in to many other accounts with the same email address and password—a cyber attack mostly known as stuffing business or personal information. If you’ve been a victim of a data breach, there are things you can do to regain full control of your personal accounts and safeguard your personal information. And you may take many of the same precautions to prevent a security failure from happening in the future. But before you regain your data, there are some quick steps you need to take before all your information is taken by the attackers.
1. Changing Your Password
This should be done for every account that has been breached. While it may be a pain to change all your passwords, it is important to do so in order to keep your information safe. Attackers will often try the same password on multiple accounts, so changing your password is the best way to prevent them from accessing any of your accounts. Ensure you get control of your accounts by updating your passwords as soon as you find out about the data breach.
2. Checking Your Credit Report
If you see any unauthorized charges on your credit report, you should report them immediately. You can also place a fraud alert on your credit report, which will notify creditors that they should take extra steps to verify your identity before extending credit. According to Experian, You should ensure that your social security number, date of birth, and other sensitive information are not being used to open new accounts. If you find that your personal information has been used to open new accounts, you should contact the credit reporting agency and file a dispute.
3. Notifying Your Bank
If you find that your debit or credit card information has been compromised, you should notify your bank immediately. They will cancel your card and issue you a new one. You should also closely monitor your bank statements for any unauthorized charges. Don’t forget to notify your bank if your personal information has been used to open new accounts. They can put a stop to the account and help you dispute any fraudulent charges.
4. Filing a Police Report
If you believe you have been the victim of identity theft, you should file a police report. This can be used to help resolve any financial disputes that may arise. The attackers can use your data to commit other crimes, which you may find yourself being held responsible for. Filing a police report can help to clear your name and prevent further damage to your reputation.
5. Monitoring Your Accounts
You should regularly check your bank and credit card statements for any unauthorized charges. You need to be extra vigilant in the months following a data breach. Attackers may try to use your information months or even years after the initial breach. When checking your statements, be sure to look for any little charges that you don’t recognize. These could be tests to see if your card is still active.
6. Freeze your credit
If you’re concerned about identity theft, you can place a freeze on your credit report. This will prevent creditors from accessing your credit report, which will make it more difficult for them to extend credit in your name. According to Fultonback, You can place a freeze on your credit report by contacting the three major credit reporting agencies. Each agency has its own process for placing a freeze, so be sure to follow their instructions carefully.
7. Setting Two-Factor Authentication
Two-factor authentication is an extra layer of security that can be used to protect your accounts. This requires you to enter a code, in addition to your password, when logging in. The code is usually sent to your phone or email. This makes it much harder for attackers to access your account, even if they have your password. Many online services offer two-factor authentication, so be sure to enable it on all your accounts.
8. Change Your Home Address
All back cards, credit reports, new accounts in your name, and other important mail will be sent to the address cyber thieves have on file. According to Consumerreports, To prevent them from intercepting your mail, you’ll need to change your address with the post office and all your financial institutions. You can also set up a mail forwarding service with the post office. This will forward all your mail to your new address, even if you forget to update your address with a company.
9. Protecting Yourself in the Future
Be vigilant about who you share your personal information. Don’t give your social security number or date of birth to anyone who doesn’t need it. When creating passwords, be sure to use a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters. Avoid using easily guessed words like your name or address. Sign up for a credit monitoring service to help you keep an eye on your credit report. If you notice any changes, you can take steps to resolve them quickly.
10. Detele Accounts That You Barely Use
If you have accounts that you don’t use often, it may be best to delete them. This will reduce the number of places where your personal information is stored. Attackers can use your personal information to open new accounts in your name, so it’s important to limit the places where your information is stored. If you’re not sure whether to delete an account, you can always change the password and limit the amount of personal information that’s stored on the account.
Identity theft is a serious problem that can have lasting repercussions. If your personal information is compromised, you should take steps to protect yourself. Data breaching has caused many people to suffer financial losses, so it’s important to be proactive. You should be very precious about who you share your information and regularly monitor your accounts for any suspicious activity. By taking these precautions, you can help protect yourself from identity theft.