Tuesday, April 07, 2020

Breaches

What is a breach?  Does it affect me?

All of your information is stored in databases.  Once the integrity of that database is compromised, either by malicious means or by accident, it is considered a breach.  Even if you do not have an account on line, that database with your information in it still exists.  An on-line account only means now YOU can access your data over the internet.   

So how does a breach affect you?  A data breach at a company that holds records of people whether they have business with them or not, such as one of the credit providers, can have a significant impact.  Depending upon what data was stolen or released, it could be the key to stealing your identity, opening accounts in your name, and ruining your credit.  

Security Week

If your email address and password are stolen, then you can consider your account hacked sooner or later.  At the very least, you'll start receiving even MORE spam!

If you receive a letter from a vendor advising you to change your password, do it.  If you hear of a breach and you know you have an account there, log in and change your password.  BEWARE the scammer who send you a fake email with a link to change your password or update your account!  If you hear about a breach and think you may have data there, log into your account (NOT from a link), and change your password.  

FREEZE your credit files.  This will prevent a criminal who does receive this data from opening accounts in your name.  And it is now free to do.  Also, CHECK your credit report annually.  If you are in Georgia, you can check each of the three credit reports annually for free.  You can stagger them - check one, then four months later, then another.  Four months later check the third.  The three are Experian, Transunion and Equifax.  Clark Howard has more information on his web site - Credit Freeze Guide.

Here is a good article about where your information may appear after a breach - The creepy truth about where your information goes in a big data breach

Want to be alerted in the event your email address was compromised in a data breach?  Go to Have I Been Pwned and insert your email address.  I use it and it works.