It can be nerve-wracking when a company you’ve done business with reports a data breach.
Did my personal information get stolen? Will crooks use my credit or debit card numbers? What should I do?
The bad news is, you could become a victim of identity theft or fraud, which happens when stolen data is actually used to do things such as make purchases or take out a loan in your name.
However, a breach doesn’t mean you will become a victim. That’s because a data breach occurs when sensitive customer information may have been exposed through either theft or by accident, but it doesn’t mean the data will actually be used.
At the very least, you should take precautions if a company informs you of a breach or if you see it in news reports.
Data that is stolen or lost might never be used, because it either has been encrypted and is inaccessible to the crooks, or because they see no value in it.
After a breach, many companies will alert you about the issue and might even offer you free credit monitoring services to help identity suspicious activity.
Once you know your data might have been exposed, experts recommend you do the following things:
Keep this in mind when you hear about a data breach: It doesn’t’ necessarily mean you will become an identity theft victim, but it does mean you should take precautions to protect yourself.
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