What do you do if your information has been compromised? Following these tips.
- Call the affected Merchant/Company – If you think you’ve been hacked or a part of a data breach, contact the affected company. They can confirm that your information was part of the breach and they will offer protections such as free credit monitoring or identity theft protection for a limited time.
- Call your Credit Union or Bank – If your personal or financial information has been compromised, contact the appropriate institutions as soon as possible. Credit Unions and banks can monitor and block any transactions that may be fraudulent. They may also be able to place a watch on your account for suspicious activity.
- Get a copy of your Credit Report – Getting a copy of your credit report is free at annualcreditreport.com, and it gives you quick access to any accounts that are open or may have been opened in your name. You can also set up a free fraud alerts at one of the three major agencies – Experian, Equifax or Transunion. Fraud alerts last three months, and require any creditor to contact you by phone when a request to issue credit is made at their institution. You can also opt to freeze your credit to prevent anyone from opening a line of credit.
- Scan and Update Your Computer – Perform an antivirus scan to ensure that there are no virus programs or malware on your computer. Also, make sure your computer, smart phone and/or tablet is running the latest version of its operating system and that applications are updated regularly.
- Update Passwords – Change passwords on possibly affected accounts. If you use the same password at different sites consider changing or using a different password for each site. When choosing passwords, make them as complex as possible. Use a combination of letters, numbers and symbols when creating a password, and use different passwords for multiple sites.
- Purchase Identity Theft Protection – As an alternative you can purchase identity theft protection. These programs watch your credit reports, bank accounts and other sites that may contain information about you. They are not an all-inclusive solution but they may help you recover things more quickly in the event of a breach
The most important thing to remember it to stay vigilant. No one is immune to hacking, but quickly responding to an incident can make the experiences less stressful and get thing back to normal more quickly.