Responding to a Data Breach

Nobody wants to get the news that their online accounts have been hacked. Unfortunately with the rise in cyber crimes, data breaches and account loss have become a common occurrence. The results of a breach can be as serious as identity theft or financial loss, or they can be as simple as wasted time. If you’re ever the victim of a data breach, here are the next steps you should take.


Change Your Login Credentials

Change your login credentials as quickly as you can. Not only for the website or account that got hacked but for any and all accounts that use the same email or password. Ideally, you shouldn’t use the same password across multiple online accounts. However, with the sheer number of accounts you might have, some overlap is common. If you receive an alert from a website or app that they’ve experienced a data breach, change your password ASAP. If you change your credentials before your account is compromised, then you’ll be one step ahead.


Be Wary of Emails

Phishing emails can be tough to spot. They can be even harder to detect when they come from a legitimate company you know and trust. If you receive a suspicious email, even from a trusted sender, don’t open links or attachments. If a company has been hacked, cybercriminals may send out phishing emails to that company’s clients FROM an official company email address. Even if the hackers don’t get access to private employee accounts, they can still take advantage of a data leak. Email addresses are one of the most commonly stolen pieces of information online. If a company you use has a data breach and you start receiving suspicious emails shortly afterward, practice caution in your inbox.


Consider Credit Monitoring

With enough information, cybercriminals can try and steal your identity. Depending on the severity of a data breach, different information can end up in the wrong hands. If you receive a notice that your sensitive information such as your social security number has been compromised, it’s wise to keep an eye on your credit. Some companies may offer free credit monitoring services as reparations. However, even if they don’t, you can use free online services such as Credit Karma to keep an eye on your credit lines.


Keep an Eye on Your Finances

If you have financial information linked to a platform that has been breached, keep an eye on your bank statements. Debit card fraud can be more frustrating than credit card fraud since criminals are taking money straight from your account. If you receive a notice that one of your payment methods has been compromised, consider getting a whole new card. You’ll have to deal with the hassle of changing your saved payment methods across different platforms. However, this is a lot less stressful and time consuming than having to file fraud reports.