Data Breach: What to Do Now

7/30/19 Update from our offices:

Capital One Data Breach

Capital One has issued guidelines on how to determine if your credit card account was affected by the data breach involving more than 100 million people and steps you can take to shore up security.

The company said Monday the largest category of jeopardized data was information on consumers and small businesses as of the time they applied for credit card products from 2005 through early 2019.

Customers can visit the Capital One website established for this breach, https://www.capitalone.com/facts2019.

Your Accounts With Us

At Westfield Financial Planning, your accounts are set up so the only way money can leave your account is by your directing us to send you funds, via a check in the mail to your home address, or electronically to your checking account (but only to your account).

The biggest concern for your accounts here is the thieves will use your information to impersonate you. Bank accounts typically are much more vulnerable. Bank accounts are designed to send money elsewhere.

What We’re Doing to Protect You

In addition to the focus and investment that we always apply to cybersecurity, we’re tightening our procedures so that when we’re verifying your identity over the phone, we won’t strictly rely on information that may have been included in the Capital One breach.

What You Can Do to Protect Yourself

Here are some other steps to take to help protect yourself after a data breach:

  • Change  your passwords.  In the meantime, it’s a good idea to change any passwords associated with your Capital One bank or credit card accounts. This should be done on a regular basis.
  • Check your credit reports from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — for free — by visiting annualcreditreport.com. Accounts or activity that you don’t recognize could indicate identity theft. Visit IdentityTheft.gov to find out what to do.
  • Consider placing a credit freeze on your files. A credit freeze makes it harder for someone to open a new account in your name. Keep in mind that a credit freeze won’t prevent a thief from making charges to your existing accounts.  Additionally, you will need to unfreeze your credit if you’re applying for any credit products in the future, like a personal loan, credit card or mortgage
  • Monitor your existing credit card and bank accounts closely for charges you don’t recognize.
  • Enroll in account text and/or email alerts to keep track of activity.
  • If you decide against a credit freeze, consider placing a fraud alert on your files. A fraud alert warns creditors that you may be an identity theft victim and that they should verify that anyone seeking credit in your name really is you.
  • File your taxes early — as soon as you have the tax information you need, before a scammer can. Tax identity theft happens when someone uses your Social Security number to get a tax refund or a job. Respond right away to letters from the IRS.
  • Additionally, you may sign up for additional fraud protection.  These services include Lifelock, EZ Shield and Identity Guard. The most basic version of Lifelock costs $9.99 per month and provides benefits including address change verification, help cancelling or replacing lost credit cards, driver’s licenses, Social Security cards and insurance cards, plus a “restoration team” that helps correct any identity theft issues and black market website surveillance.   Data breaches may also lead to phishing scams: Companies should never ask for a full social security number or driver’s license, they should confirm your card number, zip code and one or two security questions. When a consumer is a victim of identity theft or fraud, the last thing companies should do is pressure customers to give you more information.  1

Sources:

Megan Leonhardt,”5 things you should do immediately if you suspect you were affected by the Capital One data breach” CNBC, 30 July, 2019, Web. 30 July 2019. <https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2019/07/equifax-data-breach-settlement-what-you-should-know>

Capital One information: https://www.capitalone.com/facts2019/

Gressin, Seena, “The Equifax Breech: What to Do.” Federal Trade Commission, 08 Sept, 2017, Web. 09 Sept. 2017.  <https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2017/09/equifax-data-breach-what-do>

LaManga, Maria, “What to do now if you are among the 143 million Americans affected by the Equifax data breach.” Market Watch,  09 Sept. 2017, Web. 09 Sept. 2017. < http://www.marketwatch.com/story/are-you-one-of-the-143-million-customers-in-the-equifax-data-breach-do-this-now-2017-09-08>