What to do After a Data Breach

ultraspectra - Data Security Breaches

Digital Security Tip

Lockdown your accounts to keep your information out of the wrong hands.

Security Tips

You get an email, either from Firefox Monitor or a company where you have an account. There’s been a security incident. Your account has been compromised.

Getting notified that you’ve been a victim of a data breach can be alarming. You have valid cause for concern, but there are a few steps you can take immediately to protect your account and limit the damage.

Read the details about the breach.

Read closely to learn what happened. What personal data of yours was included? Your next steps will depend on what information you need to protect. When did the breach happen? You may receive the notice months or even years after the data breach occurred. Sometimes it takes awhile for companies to discover a breach. Sometimes breaches are not immediately made public.

If you haven’t yet, change your password.

Lock down your account with a new password. If you can’t log in, contact the website to ask how you can recover or shut down the account. See an account you don’t recognize? The site may have changed names or someone may have created an account for you.

If you’ve used the same password for the other acounts, change them too.

Hackers may try to reuse your exposed password to get into other accounts. Create a different password for each website, especially for your financial accounts, email account, and other websites where you save personal information.

Take extra steps if your financial data was breached.

Most breaches only expose emails and passwords, but some do include sensitive financial information. If your bank account or credit card numbers were included in a breach, alert your your bank to possible fraud. Monitor statements for charges you don’t recognize.

Review your credit reports to catch identity theft.

If you have credit history in the United States, check your credit reports for suspicious activity. Ensure that no new accounts, loans, or cards have been opened in your name. By law, you’re permitted to one free report from the three major credit reporting bureaus every year. Request them through annualcreditreport.com. And don’t worry, checking your own credit report never affects your score.

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