Considering that a data breach can happen to any company, at any time, being proactive is often the best tactic. If you suspect that you are a victim of a breach, here are some steps you can take to protect yourself from potential identity theft.
1. Assume Your Info Part of The Breach
You should operate under the impression that your confidential data has been compromised.
2. Monitor Your Credit Reports
If the company responsible for exposing your information offers you free credit monitoring, take advantage of it. Check for any accounts or charges you don’t recognize and report them immediately.
3. Consider Placing a Credit Freeze
A credit freeze makes it harder for someone to open a new account in your name. If you place a freeze, be ready to take a few extra steps the next time you apply for a new credit card – or any service that requires a credit check, as it restricts access to your credit report.
4. Replace Your Credit Card
Contact your bank or credit card company to cancel your card and request a new one.
5. Monitor Your Credit and Bank Accounts
Review your transactions regularly. If you find any unknown charges, call the fraud department to have them removed as soon as possible.
6. Watch For Tax Return Fraud
Fraudsters can use your social security number to file a tax return claiming a fraudulent refund. Be vigilant in filing your taxes as soon as possible and watchful during tax season. Respond immediately to any correspondence from the appropriate tax authorities.
7. Be Aware of Phishing Scams
Data breaches may also lead to phishing scams. Companies should never ask for a full social security number or driver’s license. Instead, they should confirm your card number, zip/postal code, and require one or two security questions. When a consumer is a victim of identity theft or fraud, the last thing companies should do is pressure customers to give you more information.
Following these tips should keep you a few steps ahead of any potential breaches!