You’ve had a Data Breach, Now What?

Data Breach

How to Respond After You’ve Had a Data Breach

First, technology and online security see continuous enhancements each year, but unfortunately, not those enhancements have not been enough to protect databases from a data breach by hackers.

Moreover, some of the most widely publicized recent data breaches have involved Target, Home Depot, and Sony, so even large companies are not immune.

Also, if your information is ever part of a data breach, you need to be ready to protect yourself from complications related to identity theft.

How to know if your personal data has been compromised

In most cases, a company will notify you via email or postal mail after they discover a data breach.

They will likely tell you what specific information has been stolen, and if things like your name, email address, username, password, mailing address, Social Security number, and financial account numbers.

Another way you may discover your personal data is if you notice fraudulent activity on your accounts.

The thief may have obtained your information through a data breach where the company has failed to notify you or where the breach has gone unnoticed. Credit Unions will need to consider the integration of the FFIEC Cybersecurity Tool to root out the infected network areas.

Steps to take to protect your identity after a data breach

  • Change your password if that was one of the pieces of information of the data breach. Also, if you use the same or a similar password for other things, change those passwords as well.
  • Sign up for the free credit monitoring service offered by the breached company, if applicable. This service will likely check your credit report on a regular basis. Then notify you immediately regarding any new information that appears. However, do not let the credit monitoring service give you a false sense of security. You should still take other steps to protect yourself and your identity.
  • Place a fraud alert on your credit report by contacting one of the three credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion. This alert will automatically transfer to the other two bureaus as well. When there is an alert on your credit report, creditors contact you directly before issuing credit in your name.
  • Review your credit reports for unusual activity. In particular, focus on the section that lists credit inquiries initiated by you.
  • Consider issuing a security freeze on your credit reports if you found evidence that someone is actively trying to open accounts using your information. The security freeze prevents new accounts for a specific financial institution and a specific time frame.
  • Protect existing accounts by monitoring your monthly account statements and checking all activity. This is especially important if you know your credit card number, debit card number, or bank account number. If you notice any unusual activity on your statements, notify the financial institution that manages the account immediately. They may issue a new account number for you.
  • Be vigilant about requests for personal information. If you receive a call or email from someone who claims to be with one of your financial institutions, do not give your personal information.