Have you ever received a notice informing you that your online bank account or your password of social media was stolen in a data breach?
If so, you’re definitely not alone. Here’s what to do to minimize your chances of becoming the victim of identity or sensitive information theft.
Find out what was stolen.
You’ll need to check exactly what information was lost in the data breach.
*Online-account passwords like Email addresses
*Your driver’s license
*your financial-account numbers, payment details
*Your ID, passport numbers or social security numbers
If your information does get stolen
If someone else indeed pretends to be you for any purpose — you’ll need to file a report with your local police precinct as soon as possible. It’s extremely important although many people think it’s useless. Because it will establish a legal basis with which you can dispute any future fraud.
Next, you’ll need to file a formal report of identity theft with the federal government. Like the police report, the government report will be essential in disputing and resolving future fraud. In the U.S., you can do so online with the Federal Trade Commission; in Canada, call 1-888-495-8501 or go to the website of the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.
If you’re a U.S. resident, you may also want to institute a credit freeze with the credit bureaus, as described above. You know the fraud is happening and need to stop it — the inconveniences resulting from a credit freeze may be worth the peace of mind.
In the worst cases, clearing your name can take years. Make sure you document each phone call made, and each email message and letter sent during your efforts.
So it’s a good idea to use a VPN when connecting to the Internet, especially in a public network. For a VPN can encrypt your traffic to protect your online security, no one can take advantage of your information.
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For more on related subject, please read on How to prevent a data breach.