How to Protect Your Personal Information after a Data Breach

How to Protect Your Personal Information after a Data Breach

May 26, 2020         Written By Heaven Speirs

Nearly half of American consumers have been victims by a data breach, and 37% of businesses have experienced one in the last year. If you were recently notified of a cybersecurity incident, there are steps you can take to protect your credit and personal information. Read on to learn what to do after a data breach.

Find out What Information Was Compromised

Before you take any action, you need to be well-informed about the data breach. What type of information was compromised during the hack? Are your financial accounts at risk, or was the data mostly contact information? Figure out what type of personal information you need to protect so you do not take unnecessary measures.

What to Do Immediately after a Data Breach

Here are some things you can do immediately after a cybersecurity attack:

  • Change passwords for email accounts, mobile banking logins, or anything else involved in the breach. If you have the same email address and password combination for multiple platforms, change the password for every account. Hackers often test login credentials on other platforms.
  • Pause your credit card or order a new one. You may be able to put a hold on your account via your card’s mobile app. This temporarily deactivates the card while you wait for more information about the breach. If you know your card data is compromised, request a replacement card.
  • Freeze your credit. This prevents any accounts from being opened in your name. Check out What Is a Credit Freeze? to learn more.
  • Monitor your bank and credit card accounts. Report any suspicious activity or fraudulent charges immediately.
  • Accept the credit monitoring offer from the affected business. Many businesses will offer free credit monitoring for an extended period of time after a data breach. If you already pay for credit monitoring, you may be able to get a reimbursement.
  • Set up text or email alerts for purchases. This will notify you the moment a fraudulent purchase is made so you can report it immediately.

Long-Term Precautions to Protect Your Credit and Personal Information

Unfortunately, the affects of a data breach can last for months after the incident. You should always monitor your credit card accounts and bank activity, whether you’ve been involved with a data breach or not. However, you should be particularly mindful of fraudulent activity for at least six months after the incident. Some hackers wait a year or longer before using stolen information, so it’s important to remain mindful of your account activity.

Additionally, you should check your credit reports once every few months. Pay close attention to the inquiries section. This shows which lenders have pulled your credit information. If you notice unauthorized inquiries, contact the agency who pulled your information, as well as the credit bureau. Find out if there are any false accounts in your name, and request for the inquiry to be removed from your credit report.

The information contained within this article was accurate as of May 26, 2020. For up-to-date information on any of the terms, cards or offers mentioned above, visit the issuer's website. Many of the offers on this article are from our affiliate partners, and LowCards.com may be compensated if you take action with any of our affiliate partners.

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heaven

About Heaven Speirs

Heaven Speirs is a contributing writer for LowCards.com. She remains up-to-date with the latest developments in the credit card industry and the financial sector as a whole. Heaven has over 10 years of experience in online journalism, the bulk of which has been focused on personal finance. Heaven attended Oklahoma State University, where she discovered her talent for research and content creation. In her spare time, Heaven enjoys painting, playing poker, and spending time with her husband and three dogs.