What to Do in the Event of a Major Data Breach
Stories of massive corporate data breaches in the media are becoming all too common today. So common that the FBI now considers cyber attacks on US companies one of its top law enforcement priorities. Unfortunately, as technology progresses and all of our information becomes more and more digitized, cyber attacks will continue to be an unfortunate part of our lives in the future. Corporations and even smaller businesses are an extremely attractive target to cybercriminals, simply due to the large payday of data that can be stolen.
What Can Cybercriminals Do With My Stolen Data?
The main reason that cybercriminals are stealing personal information is for use in identity theft. The FTC reports that 9 million identities are stolen in the United States every year. Sometimes, all it takes is a name, social security number and date of birth to commit credit card fraud, mortgage scams, utility scams, and empty bank accounts. Pay attention to your regular utility bills and bank statements. If you suddenly start to notice erratic activity on your accounts, this can be a red flag that your identity has been stolen.
What Can I Do To Protect My Identity?
If you suspect that you could possibly be affected by a data breach, here are some things you can do to remain proactive:
- Monitor any notices from the company that experienced the breach.
- Keep a close eye on your credit report and consider signing up for a credit monitoring service in order to alert you to possible identity theft.
- Regularly monitor your bank accounts and any other financial accounts you have for suspicious activity. If the companies you do business with offer activity alerts, sign up for them.
While we are seeing more high profile data breaches that affect large numbers of the population in the U.S., we do have laws that will protect you against identity theft and fraud. It is up to you to be diligent about monitoring your accounts in the event that you do become a victim of this breach.