A massive data breach hit Capital One. Digital privacy expert Daniel Markuson shares the most essential steps consumers can take to keep themselves safer.
On Monday, it was announced that a data breach of Capital One compromised the personal information of approximately 100 million consumers in the United States and 6 million consumers in Canada. It is said to be one of the top 10 largest data breaches ever.
The bank announced that in addition to the credit card application data, portions of credit card customer data were also obtained, including credit scores, limits, balances, payment history, transaction data, and contact information. Stolen data also included 140,000 Social Security numbers, 80,000 linked bank account numbers.
What to do if your account gets compromised
NordVPN’s digital privacy expert Daniel Markuson shares the most essential steps consumers can take to keep themselves safer.
Get back into your account
The first important step is to log into your online account and change the password immediately. Go through the privacy settings and check if you can make your account more secure. Invoke all recommended security settings.
It is as well advised to sign up for email or text alerts about your monetary transactions.
Freeze your credit
The best way to protect yourself is to freeze your credit. This makes it very difficult to open new accounts in your name, even if someone is using your stolen financial information. It is important to note, that credit freeze doesn’t influence your score.
With credit freeze invoked – most creditors will decline to open a new account as they will not be able to check your credit history.
Place a fraud alert and check credit reports
If freezing your credit is not an option for you – contact one of the credit bureauses and invoke a fraud alert. Fraud alerts flag creditors and they verify your identity before issuing new credit in your name. Such alerts usually last for a year but can be renewed.
Capital One said that they “will make free credit monitoring and identity protection available to everyone affected.” Check for credit inquiries, balances, and new accounts that you haven’t opened or applied for.
Check credit card statements
It is very important to regularly check your credit card statements online, even if you think that your data hasn’t been affected by the breach. If you see any strange activities on your balance – try to recall whether you authorized the charge. If you can’t recall it, inform your bank and the merchant immediately.
Make sure to keep all your documentation, such as order confirmation numbers or receipts.
Beware of phishing scams
Since hackers may have detailed information on more than 100 million individuals, there might be a spike in more personalized phishing scams. Such scams are usually very effective as criminals use a piece of real information, for example, your name and address.
Personalized phishing messages are designed to look as if they are coming from a legitimate bank or other familiar organization. Be vigilant and contact the organization before clicking on any links, filling in forms or transferring funds. For additional safety, use a VPN, like NordVPN, when browsing.
Report unusual activities
And finally, if you notice something unusual – report the incident to the authorities. Raising the alarm can help not only you, but others affected by the breach as well.
NordVPN is the world’s most advanced VPN service provider that is more security oriented than most VPN services. It offers double VPN encryption, malware blocking & Onion Over VPN. The product is very user-friendly, offers one of the best prices on the market, has over 5,000 servers worldwide and is P2P-friendly. One of the key features of NordVPN is zero log policy. For more information: nordvpn.com.