If you follow the news, you will notice that there seems to be an increasing number of data breaches taking over the headlines each week. The details vary, but in each breach, a large number of victims’ sensitive information becomes compromised. To help keep your information and finances secure, we have compiled three steps you should follow if you’ve been affected by a data breach…
You might be wondering…what is a data breach, anyway? Data breaches occur when sensitive information is accessed or used without authorization. Factors like a wealth of online data and effective hacking tools have led to a noticeable increase in data breaches in recent years, causing tremendous damage to individual consumers and businesses across the country.
The goal of most data breaches is to obtain personal information, such as names, email addresses and passwords, as well as financial information, like credit card numbers and account details.
Steps to take if you’ve been affected by a data breach.
1. Freeze your credit. Whenever you hear about a major data breach that can possibly affect you, it’s best to monitor your accounts for suspicious activity. Placing a freeze on your credit is the most critical step you can take to stop scammers from accessing your information. A credit freeze will not bring down your credit score, but it will serve as a notice for lenders and credit companies by alerting them to the fact that you may have been a victim of fraud. This added layer of protection will make it difficult for hackers to open a new credit line or loan in your name.
You can freeze your credit at no cost at all three of the major credit bureaus, Equifax, Transunion and Experian. You will need to provide some basic information to receive a PIN for the freeze. When you believe it is safe to lift the freeze, you will need to use this same number.
2. Change your passwords. Most people are on high alert following a major data breach, but they tend to let their guard down once the heat is off and things calm down. Hackers know this, and they’ll often hold onto victims’ information immediately following a data breach and then sell it months down the line to other identity thieves. To protect your accounts from a delayed-reaction hack, change all of your passwords after a breach that possibly has affected you.
3. File an identity theft report. If your accounts have been compromised, and you believe your identity has been stolen, file an identity theft report with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) as soon as possible.
With a Benefits Plus® checking account at SeaComm, you will receive free IDT Restoration Rescue ®. This entitles you to your own Identity Theft Restoration team, who will deliver the most comprehensive restoration service available. You will be provided with services performed by a licensed attorney, highly specialized in identity theft restoration. A Benefits Plus® representative will also assist in filing police reports and contacting all credit bureaus, creditors, financial institutions, merchants, and even utility companies on your behalf. Visit your nearest SeaComm branch location to enroll in Benefits Plus® today!
For complete information, terms, conditions and exclusions please visit www.benefits-plus.org or call 866-329-7587