In today’s economy, more thieves are finding creative ways to make money from stolen personal data. Data breaches often involve culprits stealing others’ information and using it to their advantage. It seems an easy task for tech-savvy criminals. Unfortunately, for government agencies and ordinary individuals, finding and prosecuting these criminals is very difficult.
That’s because expert cyber criminals don’t leave traces of their work. That leaves victims of personal identity theft with two problems: no sign of who the criminal is and a personal data that has been compromised. A financial setback due to a data breach is the most common consequence, especially when culprits successfully make their way through vital personal records, including credit card details and social security information.
Anyone can be affected by this type of information loss, which is why it is wise for people to be proactive in preventing a identity theft. You can still protect your resources, like credit cards, and personal information against data breach if you are well-informed about the steps to undertake.
Credit monitoring for data breach protection
In response to the rise in identity theft, credit card issuers now offer credit monitoring education and assistance to their clients. Credit monitoring helps people defend themselves against fraudsters who have misused stolen accounts. Credit fraud happens when criminals use your personal information to purchase goods and services, as well as open new accounts. Some data breaches also involve using your insurance and/or social security information to claim false benefits under your name.
It usually takes a while before you realize that a new fraudulent account has been opened in your name. You may also be surprised if one day, you receive a call from the card issuer about your past-due bills that are not yours. In a worst-case scenario, you might end up getting rejected when applying credit accounts, because a criminal has already opened one, turning your good credit into a nightmare.
Therefore, you need to monitor your credit for any suspicious activities, especially during a data breach outbreak. That is because criminals who successfully open an account using your name, will usually send billing statements to another address instead of yours. By monitoring your credit, you’ll know when unnecessary purchases or claims are made in your account.
Now that I’m informed, what’s next?
Say, for example, a data breach has been reported by an organization and your account has been affected, what should you do next?
-Check for e-mail notifications or letters – Affected organizations will send out letters informing their clients about a data breach. You need to read the contents carefully and look for their toll-free customer support phone number. Call them as soon as possible and ask about any credit monitoring assistance they provide and the extent to which your personal information has been affected.
-Conduct a close monitoring of your account – Fraud can occur to anyone during a data breach. Stay alert for suspicious credit activities, like changes on your billing statements and bank accounts, or other notifications for purchases and services you do not recognize.
We all enjoy convenience and speed of the Internet, but we need be aware of its shortcomings. When your computer is connected to the Internet, you need to take security into consideration. Your information and data are valuable for hacker and can be used for identity fraud, immigration fraud, committing cyber crimes, or even blackmailing people.
Many countries have passed new cyber law, but jurisdiction varies from country to country – cyber laws in one country may be not applicable in another. This makes it possible for a hacker to steal information of a victim in one country steals and use it in another to avoid conviction. So it is more important than ever before that you make your data as safe and secure as possible.