Ok, your data has been breached. Now what? You probably weren’t even the cause of the data breach.
Maybe you just saw in the news that a giant company was breached, like Equifax, and you know they have your data. Perhaps, you just got a note in the mail from your residential mortgage lender that they were breached and you were affected. If a company notifies you there is a very high chance that they’ll offer you identity monitoring. Take them up on it because it will at least be free for 1 year.
Here’s what you should do once you know there’s been a breach that may affect you.
- Understand the specifics of the breach by reading the notice that was sent to you or doing a quick google search for company name breach.
- What information are they saying has been breached? Is it your SSN, your bank account information, your username and password? This will inform you of the best steps to take.
- Just assume that your information will be used for bad things by bad actors.
- Immediately update your password if you have credentials for the breached company. It’s probably best to also update your security questions if you have those too. They may not know exactly what was breached so updating username and password will shut down a bad actors ability to log into your account.
- Put a freeze on your credit if you don’t already have one.
- File your taxes early to avoid tax fraud.
- Sign up for a paid credit/FICO monitoring service to see real time changes on your credit. There are sites that let you view your credit report free once a year.
- Use a money manager to monitor your finances.
- Be alert and if you don’t recognize activity on your accounts, contact the companies in scope immediately for clarity.