Data breaches can put your social security number, passwords, and even credit card information in the wrong hands.
Industry experts say there is an average of 1,500 large-scale data breaches each year and the trend continues to grow. Some companies will notify you of a data breach and risky information. You can also search online for yourself to find out what information has been compromised. This website will tell you if this is your email address, phone number or password.
If you receive an alert your password has been compromised, change it immediately. You should also be careful of crooks who contact you about a fake data breach. Mallory Wojciechowski with the Better Business Bureau of North Carolina says, “They may contact you and say your information has been compromised, click this link for more information and it may be a scam. So if you receive an email like this, we advise you to contact the company directly to see if you have really been impacted. “
Always consider two-factor authentication for an extra layer of protection. If your Social Security number or financial information was part of a data breach, freezing your credit is a smart option because it restricts access to your credit history.
The Better Business Bureau provides these tips for avoiding data breach scams:
- Check if you have been affected. Visit the company’s website and monitor your email for additional information about the violation. Often, the affected company will send emails to affected consumers.
- Watch out for phishing attacks. Be on the lookout for crooks claiming to be from the affected company telling you your information has been compromised and clicking on a link. If in doubt, contact the company directly.
- Get a copy of your credit report. Go to annualcreditreport.com or call 1-877-322-8228 for a free copy of your credit report. You can get a free copy of your report from each of the three credit bureaus once a year.
- Monitor your accounts regularly. Check all charges on your statements. Scammers often test cards with lower fees before they rack up large bills. Confirm each debit from your account line by line. Sign up to receive alerts on your credit card, debit and bank accounts
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