After the Capital One Breach: How to Protect Yourself
As you are probably well aware by now, it was announced this week that Capital One suffered a data breach of over 100 million customer accounts. The breach was discovered on July 19th and Capital One has stated that the exploit has since been fixed. At this point the damage has been done though. If you are or have been a customer or even a prospective customer (filing a credit app) since 2005 there is a likelihood that your information has been exposed. Here is a breakdown of the information that was exposed –
- Customer Names
- Dates of birth
- Credit scores
- Transaction data
- Social Security numbers (140,000 leaked)
- Linked bank account numbers (80,000 leaked)
On a positive note, no actual credit card numbers or user account information was compromised. Capital One has stated that they will be reaching out to every customer that had any of their account information compromised. If you would like to read the official FAQ from Capital One you can find it here Capital One Breach 2019.
I’m not going to get into the ethical issues that I have with the lack of accountability from the businesses or these continued breaches and the lack of security we have as a public. What I will do though is point out some steps that everyone should be taking to help protect themselves now and in the future.
Go freeze your credit immediately. You can do this in pretty short order by going to the sites listed below and freezing your credit at the 3 Major Credit agencies – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.
Unless you are currently in the process of trying to obtain more credit (new car, buying a home, new credit card) then there is little reason to leave your credit open. You will obtain PIN numbers to freeze and unfreeze your credit at will and this process typically takes around 1 hour for your credit to be “unfrozen” when you need it. Here is a good article that goes into great detail on freezing your credit LifeLock Credit Freeze Details.
Monitor your credit. You can get a free credit report from multiple outlets once a year, including the 3 major agencies listed above. Check your credit history for any accounts that seem suspicious and or that you are not aware of. If you discover something unusual you should contact the 3 major agencies about possible fraud. You should also then contact the account that you find and report it as a fraudulent account.
As long as there is the internet, know that our data is unfortunately, constantly at risk. We need to make sure that we do everything in our own power to limit the ability for a rogue persons to do anything malicious in nature to our information/data if they manage to obtain it. Taking these steps above can help get started in doing just that.
If anyone has questions about what to do now and or in the future to better help protect themselves, as always, feel free to reach out to me.