Data breaches are becoming more and more frequent. According to Risk Based Security’s Mid-Year Data Breach Report, there were 1,767 publicly reported breaches in the first half of 2021, exposing 18.8 billion records. If your personal information has been compromised by a data breach, take these five steps to mitigate the damage.
Step 1: Read all notices from the compromised company
The business that’s been breached will generally reach out to all potential victims to notify them of the exposure. it may also advise them about next steps. If you believe your information may have been compromised in a breach, read every message you receive from the exposed company.
Step 2: Alert your financial institution
Next, let Olean Area Federal Credit Union know if your account may have been compromised. We will review it for potential signs of fraud. Watch your accounts closely, sign up for our E-Alerts that will text or email you regarding balance changes that you set up. Stay vigilant as you may not see anything right away, many times these hackers wait 6 months to a year before trying anything.
Step 3: Change your passwords
A data breach generally means passwords of all kinds may have been compromised. It’s best to change as many as possible after a breach to keep information and money safe. Start by changing passwords you are sure were a part of the breach.
Take these precautions to protect your information from future data breaches:
- Use strong, unique passwords for each account and opt for two-factor authentication when possible.
- Never share sensitive information online and review your security and spam settings ensuring they are at their strongest levels.
Step 4: Consider a credit freeze
A credit freeze will alert lenders and credit companies to the fact that you may have been a victim of fraud. This added layer of protection will make it difficult, or impossible, for hackers to open a new credit line or loan in your name.
Step 5: File an identity theft report
- Monitor your credit for suspicious activity on a regular basis.