How To Keep Your Information Safe: Capital One Data Breach 2019
This week, millions of Capital One customers and applicants have been affected by the reported data breach. A hacker gained access to confidential information such as Social Security numbers and bank account numbers stolen. Capital One learned of the data breach on July 19th and contacted those customers who were impacted 10 days later. In that time, they sought help from law enforcement, which may have given the hackers access to the data for several days. A 33-year-old woman has been arrested and charged with one count of computer fraud and abuse.
The report revealed that no credit card numbers or login credentials were taken, but names, addresses, birthdates, phone numbers, Social Security numbers, and bank account numbers were compromised.
What do you do if you are one of the 106 million individuals whose confidential information was affected by the Capital One data breach?
1. Check your credit report at the three credit-reporting agencies: Equifax, Transunion, and Experian. Confirm that no new accounts have been opened in your name and see if there is any suspicious activity in your accounts.
2. Be cautious and place a fraud alert on your credit report. This will not freeze your credit but will force anyone opening an account in your name to confirm your identity.
3. Freeze your credit. If you are hacked, this will not allow anyone to access your reports or create any new accounts without your permission. However, this could cause an inconvenience to you if you are buying a car or house or applying for a credit card.
4. Change your online banking passwords, especially your Capital One account password. And, remember to change them regularly.
5. Take advantage of any services provided by Capital One due to the data breach. They are offering free credit monitoring and identity protection services to anyone who was affected by the data breach.
The unfortunate truth of the internet is that this has become a new normal and you should assume that your data can be accessible by scammers. To stay on top of your credit, you can sign up for a credit monitoring service going forward or use the one provided by Capital One. Be sure to check your credit reports every quarter to confirm there hasn’t been any fraudulent purchases or accounts opened.
Another thing to be wary of is the potential for other scammers to get in on the action. According to Wall Street Journal, Capital One will not be calling their customers about this, if you do not call Capital One yourself, do not provide any confidential information over the phone to anyone.
It is best to keep monitoring the story as we continue to be updated on this report.
By: Avani Ramnani