Each minute identify theft claims 19 new victims. Regardless of how many news reports you have watched or articles you have read it’s a topic one can never be over educated on. A recent high-profile cyber-attack against health insurer Anthem, Inc. compromised the names, birthdays, medical ID numbers, social security numbers, street addresses, email addresses, and employment data of as many as 78.8 million people, according to multiple news sources1. These breaches in cyber security aren’t going away. It’s more important than ever before to be vigilant about protecting yourself against the threat of identity theft.
Here are five actions that you should do if you think your personal/financial information has been compromised.
- Clean your computers of any malware. Run a reliable anti-virus scan or have the computer taken to a trusted professional to be cleaned.
- Change your passwords. Once a virus scan has been completed and any malware has been removed, passwords should be changed for all accounts. If a virus scan cannot be completed immediately, passwords should still be changed and then changed again after any malware has been removed from the computer.
- Contact all creditors and financial institutions.
- Place a fraud alert with one of the national credit reporting agencies Experian, TransUnion or Equifax. The company you contact first is then required to notify the other two agencies. The fraud alert is free and remains on record for 90 days and can be renewed thereafter.
- Review the following resources for more reporting information and protection:
Finding out your personal information was part of a company breach or one via your personal computer can be very nerve racking and time consuming. However, taking the time to ensure all measures have been taken to protect your identity after a breach can pay off in the long run. If the issue escalates from compromised information to full-blown identity theft, it is estimated the average identity theft victim will spend $500 and 30 hours on each case of identity theft2.