Take precautions before you become a victim of identity theft!
The Information and Cyber Security Office would like to raise the PNW awareness on a recent data breach reported from Capital One. They were subject to a large scale attack that affected 100 million people in the US. Personnel data such as social security numbers, names, addresses, birth dates, and credit history can be exposed in this type of attack. If you’re a customer and worried about your data, there are immediate steps you can take to safeguard your personal information.
How can you tell if you were affected?
Although, it is always recommended to take precautions now to protect your identity instead of waiting to find out if your information was exposed.
What precautions can you take?
- Watch out for scams. If the scammers have your information they may target you directly. Don’t respond to phone calls or emails from creditors. Call them directly by using the phone number or email you find on their legitimate website. Also beware of fake settlement websites, as the malicious actors will also try and lure you in by asking you to confirm your personal information. For example, they have started putting up fake websites meant to look like the official Equifax settlement claims website.
- A credit freeze will add an extra layer of protection by restricting creditors’ access to your credit report. If a thief applied for a line of credit, most creditors will look at the applicant credit report and see that it is locked. To learn about credit freezes’, review the FTC’s Credit Freeze FAQ.
- Sign up for free credit monitoring. Capital One plans to offer free credit monitoring and identity protection services to anyone who was affected by their latest breach. Credit monitoring can allow you to regularly check for changes to your credit score, or alert you when fraudulent lines of credit have been opened using stolen data.
- While Capital One’s breach wasn’t caused by stolen credentials, it is always recommended to use best practices for password security.
- Use a password manager to organize passwords or to create unique passwords.
- Use Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) on your personnel accounts. At PNW we use BoilerKey. Third-party services will typically offer a MFA feature.
- Pseudo-random passphrases will make it harder for hackers to guess your credentials.
To review previous security tips head to the Security Tips Feed.
Remember to be proactive instead of reactive. Take precautions before you become a victim of identity theft!