BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Nearly every day another security breach of data or private information is announced. Here's what to do if you think your information was part of a breach.
We went to the Federal Trade Commission and two Buffalo cyber security firms to find out what's most important:
- Use a credit monitoring system. This is sometimes offered through your bank or credit card company at no cost. Otherwise, a small annual fee is worth the hassle.
- The credit monitoring system will alert you if someone has been requesting new credit cards or loans with your information. "Credit monitoringwill not only cover you, it'll cover your children too. Children and school districts and academia and higher education are major targets of organized crime hackers," says Michael McCartney, President of Avalon Cyber.
- Get free credit reports from annualcreditreport.com
- Turn to your bank for help. Your online banking platform may offer dark web monitoring services to see if anyone has bought or sold your information. "The dark web is essentially a place for bad guys to use and sell your information after a security breach. They'll sell your credit card information, your personal information or your passwords," says Mark Musone, Chief Technology Officer of DataSure24.
- If your information has been stolen and used, go to the FTC's website, Identitytheft.gov to get a recovery plan.
- Make sure to change your passwords, especially if you use the same password for multiple websites.
- Frequently check your credit card and bank statements, don't wait for your monthly statement to come. Spotting a fradulent charge earlier is better so you can call to freeze your accounts.
- If your bank information was exposed, contact your bank to close your account and open a new one.
- Try to file your taxes early, before a scammer can. Some identity thieves will target your social security number to get a job or tax refund.
There isn't a lot you can do as an individual consumer to prevent security breaches, but you can always preventatively ask an organization what their notification policies are in case of a breach so you're prepared.