Data Breach Affects More than 120 Million Households
In what seems like the year of the data breach, another massive incident was recently announced. The personal information of virtually every American household sat open on an Amazon Web Services cloud storage bucket, which was managed by data-analytics firm Alteryx. The California-based company obtained the data from Experian, a giant consumer credit reporting agency similar to Equifax. You may remember that, in September, Equifax suffered a breach that affected 145 million people.
This massive dataset included 248 different fields per individual, ranging from home addresses and contact information, to mortgage ownership and details on purchasing behavior. What’s even more troubling is that, to access this information, all someone needed was the URL and a free-to-create Amazon AWS account. Per cybersecurity company UpGuard, there are more than one million users of Amazon AWS who could have publicly accessed this sensitive data.
The treasure trove of personally identifiable information (PII) that continues to leak on a near daily basis make us all aware of the threats facing consumers every day. While we do not yet know the full impact of this breach, Americans should be concerned nonetheless. Identity theft is a devastating and personal violation that affects much more than just your credit. The time to protect yourself, your family, your employees, and your customers is now.
As we enter 2018, here are 8 tips to follow if you believe your sensitive information has been exposed as part of a data breach:
- Beware of stolen funds
It’s critical when personal information is publicly exposed to continuously review your bank and financial accounts so that you can rapidly report any stolen funds to your financial institutions.
- Monitor your Social Media accounts
Imposter accounts and takeovers through any social media account can lead to fraudsters scraping personal information to even hack into email accounts, or to battle it out further on the to buy and sell your personal information.
- Request a free copy of your annual credit report
Take great care to review your credit reports. If you find inaccurate information, contact the companies listed on the credit report(s) directly. You can also contact the Identity Theft Resource Center, a non-profit, at (888) 400-5530 to assist you, and/or subscribe to an identity and credit monitoring service to alert you when your personal information is used.
- If you confirm you’re a victim of identity theft, create an identity theft report with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
Expect law enforcement to request a copy of this report when you contact them. Learn more here: www.identitytheft.gov
- Consider placing an extended fraud alert or security freeze on your credit
Creditors will still have access to your credit file, even though you’ve placed a 7-year extended fraud alert, but must first contact you to verify your identity before extending credit. A credit freeze generally prevents creditors from accessing your credit file. To request one, you must call each credit bureau directly. Laws vary by state.
- File your tax returns as soon as you can
Filing an early tax return protects you from identity thieves who could file and collect your tax refund before you do. You can also request a Personal Identification Number (PIN) in order to submit your tax return.
- Contact the social security administration
Request a copy of your wage earning report to verify that your social security number is not being used fraudulently, which could result in your owing taxes for wages earned by someone who’s stolen your information.
- Contact your health insurance carrier
Request a copy of your health insurance statement in order to identify any fraudulent medical claims.
MAKE 2018 THE MOST SECURE YEAR YET
There’s no time like the present to get top-rated identity theft protection. As you read above, the information of virtually every American household was vulnerable during this data breach. Don’t jeopardize yourself or your family’s future – Sign Up today.