Have you ever received a letter or other notification of a data breach notification? What did you do with the letter? If you threw it away, you may have been leaving the door open for identity thieves to steal your personal information.
Reasons You Should Never Ignore a Data Breach Notification
Have you ever
received a letter or other notification of a data breach notification? What did
you do with the letter? If you threw it away, you may have been leaving the
door open for identity thieves to steal your personal information. According to
the Javelin's 2013 Data Breach Fraud Impact Report,
half of all victims of identity theft had received a letter warning them of a
data breach within twelve months before their identities were stolen.
Nonetheless, many people ignore such letters.
providers or other telecommunications send out letters informing
their customers of data breaches, you should take such notifications seriously.
While you cannot prevent data breaches of this type, how you react may make the
difference between a minor inconvenience and a nightmare that persists for
years. Acting quickly and decisively minimizes your risk for becoming a
fraudster's next victim.
Take Advantage of Free Data Protection Services
If you are offered access to free data protection services, use them. Such services often provide the best first line defense against identity theft. Such services can help you monitor your account for suspicious activity in the months after a data breach occurs. If there is evidence of identity thefts, data protection services can cut the red tape with credit bureau reporters and others to ensure that your information is reported accurately.
Contact Bank and Credit Card Companies
If you receive a data
breach notification, your next move should be to notify your bank and credit
card companies of the breach. Ask about what possible effects that a breach may
have on your account. Even if the data breach notification states that there is
no evidence of identity theft, it is always better to be safe than sorry. Being
proactive now may prevent you from needing to be reactive after an identity
thief steals your personal information or makes fraudulent charges with your
Consider Fraud Alerts and Credit Freezes
Although fraud alerts
and credit freezes are inconvenient, you should balance the inconvenience of
flagging your account now versus the hassle of cleaning up the mess of having
your identity stolen. A fraud alert places a flag on your social security
number for credit providers to place extra scrutiny on any application for new
credit. A credit freeze prevents any new credit checks from being run or credit
granted for your social security number. A credit freeze is the best guarantee
that you will not have your identity stolen. However, if you need to apply, for
credit, rent n apartment or apply for a job where a prospective employer will
run a credit check, you must make a written request for a temporary lift of the
Sign up for text alerts and email messages to notify you of potentially suspicious activity around your account such as large funds transfers or an unauthorized change of address. According to Javelin, a change of address accompanied the majority of account takeover funds, where a thief takes over your bank account. Without such monitoring services, you may only find out about identity theft after the funds from your bank account have been drained and you are left with no access to cash.
Yogesh Mankani is a computer security software guru. He frequently writes about his latest findings of threats on technology blogs. You can check out Internet providers For more details.