Hackers disrupt someone’s life every minute of every day. In fact, more than 140 million people associated with the Equifax breach were hacked this summer. There are several basic things you can do to stay ahead of the bad guys and know what to look out for if your personally identifiable information has been compromised.
Online Security Tips for Consumers:
- Routinely monitor all of your financial accounts for suspicious activities, such as transactions you did not make. If your institution offers account activity alerts via text or email, sign up for them.
- Cyber criminals can now use data from a breach to access your other online accounts via password reset questions. These questions usually ask you personal information such as your mother’s maiden name and previous addresses. If you have ever used any of this information in those types of security questions, you should change the questions immediately.
- If the information that was leaked in the breach was as a Social Security number or other personally identifiable information, you may want to consider putting a security freeze on your credit report. This will prevent other institutions from accessing your report entirely. It will also stop hackers from opening any new credit lines or credit extensions under your name. Also be sure to contact the Social Security Administration if dealing with a data breach that involves your SSN about next steps.
- If you do encounter suspicious activity on your account, contact your bank immediately. Inform them of the activity as well as the fact that your information was exposed in a breach. Secondly, contact the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) and file a report.
- If a password was involved in the breach – change it. These passwords should be difficult to hack and should be different for every account and changed at least every six months.
Check Websites for PCI Compliance
When shopping online, look for sites that are PCI compliant. These websites are meeting the standards set by the Payment Card Industry (PCI) and are scanned for vulnerabilities accessible to hackers. Trust Guard scans for more than 75,575 vulnerabilities for thousands of websites all over the world. Look for the Trust Guard trust seal on websites. If you see one, you’ll know that it is safe from hackers.
Breaches are common these days because the payoff for cyber criminals may be lucrative. For this reason, it’s important that you stay as proactive as possible.