What to do after a data breach?

What is the Dark Web?

You are currently browsing the opposite of the Dark Web – the Surface Web. That means that our site is indexed and searchable by Search Engines. However, the Deep Web is hidden, so there is no way you can get to it without actually attempting to. The Deep Web is known for its illegal activities, including drug trade, forging documents, selling passwords, and more. One thing is for sure—you do not want to see your personal information there.

Unfortunately, sometimes your data gets out and about because someone is hoping to make money off it. If your data has been compromised, you can take precautionary steps to minimize the issues that might arise.

We have compiled a list of actions to take when your data has been breached together with a list of precautionary activities you and everyone else should do to keep you safe.

Categories of leaked info:

Sensitive personal information

passwords | email | card number | SSN | documents

Password

Change your password for something completely new and something that you haven’t used before. If you use a password that you have previously used for a different account, it might be possible the hackers also have that password.

It is also a good idea to use two-factor authentication, so before you log into your email (for example), you will have to approve the login from your phone. The criminals probably will not have access to both your password, username, and your phone.

Email address

Without your password, there isn’t much anyone can do with your email—except sending you many phishing emails. Make sure to keep your guard up when clicking on any links in an email and always triple check if the sender is who you think it is. It is also smart to hover over any links with your cursor and observe the text pop up, showing you where you will be taken. Does it look like a legitimate address?

Credit or debit card numbers

This can be quite scary since people can charge your card online. You should call your bank, let them know about the issue and cancel your current card. After that, you should get a new card issued. It is also good to set up your bank app on your smartphone, so you can get a text or notification when someone uses your card. Doing so will minimize the risk of losing a large amount of money.

Social Security Number

The bad news about someone stealing your SSN means that (together with your name), they can pretend to be you. In this case, please contact a credit reporting agency (TransUnion, Equifax, or Experian) and place a fraud alert. Reporting will ensure that before issuing a new credit card, the issuer will pay extra close attention to your identity, thus making it harder for people posing as you to get credit cards issued.

Government-issued identification documents

The steps that can be taken depend on the state and agency that issued the document. Please call the agency responsible for the document and let them know what happened. The report will allow them to give you specific directions about what to do—whether it be canceling it and issuing you a new one, or marking it as possibly breached so it could not be used for fraud.

If you are a victim of identity theft, you should file a report to the local police and the Federal Trade Commission at www.identitytheft.gov. Contacting the police will help you clear your records and make sure the theft won’t have any worse consequences.

Less personal information

name | address | phone number

Your name

Many people don’t feel comfortable with having their full name out in the wild Internet, possibly in someone’s hands. However, cybercriminals can’t do a whole lot with just your name. If that’s the only piece of information they have, you should be safe.

Home address

It can be pretty uncomfortable to know that someone who you don’t know knows your home address. Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do about this, either. The good news is that hackers can’t do much with this information. We used to have phone books with everyone’s name, number, and home address, so you should still be safe.

Phone number

When baddies have your phone number, the odds are you will receive more scam calls. While it is incredibly frustrating, there isn’t much you can do about that besides changing your number. Usually, if you don’t pick up any calls from an unknown number, they will eventually stop calling. If someone wants to get in touch with you using a new phone number, you can just let them text you first and let you know who they are.

How can I avoid this in the future?

​Most breaches happen to companies that are responsible for keeping your data safe. Cybercriminals are continually thinking of new creative ways to get money and data, making it extremely hard to tackle.

One of the most significant data breaches in the world happened in 2013 to Yahoo—almost 3 billion records were stolen. Among other big names with massive data breaches are Target, Uber, and eBay—to name a few. There isn’t much you can do when this happens to companies you have used in the past, but you can also take a few extra precautionary steps to avoid getting your data out in the world

1. Always shred or rip apart documents that include personal information. These docs include bank, government, or health care documents

 2. Be very careful about opening email links. If your computer gets infected with spyware, it is effortless for criminals to capture your sensitive data

 3. Use passwords that are not easy to guess. Your password should include a number, a symbol, a capital letter, and a lowercase letter.

 4. Get updates for your computer. Security patches get updated all the time, so having a recent and up-to-date patch is very important

 5. Be careful with sharing personal information. Don’t give away your info too quickly—we see many people struggling with phishing calls or emails that sound astoundingly realistic. Always keep your guard up when dealing with strangers on the phone or online.

PRO offers a complimentary report for data breaches to our PRO Care clients. Haven’t received one? Consider becoming a PRO Care Client!

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