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Tips for data breach victims

Tips for data breach victims

(Internet Safety, Scams, Identity Theft) Permanent link

If you shop, play video games or blog, your information may have been compromised as part of a recent pile-up of data breaches.

cybercrimePrivacy Rights Clearinghouse has tracked 202 breaches so far in 2011. Here are a few:

  • Michaels Stores are reporting a security breach affecting the debit cards of customers in Washington and 19 other states. According to the Chicago Tribune, “Michaels' checkout-line swipe terminals were probably tampered with or swapped out for other machines by thieves who stole account numbers and secret PIN codes, experts say. As a result, Michaels customers have reported having money taken from their bank accounts, often in the amount of $503, and often at cash machines in California.”
  • Sony reported that a hacker stole personal information belonging to 77 million customers of its PlayStation Network.  As many as 12 million credit card numbers might have been included, including 5.6 million belonging to U.S. customers. It’s unclear. Cyber criminals also reportedly accessed an additional 24 million accounts of Sony Online Entertainment users.
  • LifePass, a company designed to keep your passwords to multiple sites safe, failed to do that. The company says hackers may have gotten snatched information from up to 1.25 million customers, Bloomberg reports.
  • Hackers accessed several of WordPress' servers. All information on the servers could have been accessed. Source code, API keys and social media passwords may have been exposed. Blog comments from WordPress spokespeople reveal the stage of the investigation and that phone numbers and financial information were unlikely to have been exposed.
  • Millions of customer e-mail addresses were stolen from Epsilon’s computers. Blogger Brian Krebs has compiled a list of companies that have acknowledged losing customer contact data, including Capital One, U.S. Bank, Target, Kroger, Moneygrram, TiVo and Verizon, just to name a few.

So what now? Here’s what to do to minimize the chance a thief makes off with your money or destroys your credit history:

  • Accept offers of free credit monitoring services from the companies that experienced breaches, but don't consider these services foolproof. And note on your calendar when the free monitoring period ends, so that you aren't automatically charged for continuing such services.
  • Put a security freeze on your files at the three credit reporting agencies if there is a chance that a data breach includes your Social Security number. At the minimum, place a fraud alert. Instructions for both can be found here.
  • Monitor credit and debit card accounts online and report any unauthorized credit or debit transactions.
  • Watch out for e-mail and phone scams that try to convince you to provide personal information.
  • Change user names and passwords on any accounts you know have been breached.

Related All Consuming posts:

Don’t be stabbed by a spear phisher

Phishing attacks likely to follow Epsilon breach

Credit card data possibly stolen from PlayStation and Qriocity users

Posted by Kristin Alexander All Consuming Blog Moderator at 05/11/2011 02:20:42 PM | 


1 in 10 US consumers have been victims of identity theft so it is wise to at least monitor your credit cards and check with the credit bureaus for any fishy activity. Here you can find some stats from the FTC on fraud and ID theft: http://ftc.gov/sentinel/reports/sentinel-annual-reports/sentinel-cy2010.pdf

50.2 million Americans have ID theft protection since 2009 so if you dont want to check your credit constantly try [LINK to commercial Web site removed per AGO blog comment policy.]
Posted by: Neil M ( Email ) at 5/18/2011 7:31 AM


I think the biggest breach of confidentiality was the mess up with PlayStation, how could such a big company lose so many peoples details including bank and card numbers!
Posted by: Judith Moore ( Email ) at 5/25/2011 11:44 AM


I HAVE BEEN CONTACTED BY MAIL RE; A MORTGAGE REFUND HOWEVER MY MORTGAGE CO HAS NO AFFILIATION WITH THIS SERVICE THEY WANTED 149.00 DOLLARS AS WELL AS MY SS NUMBER AND ADDRESS ZIP ,WITCH I GAVE BEFORE I REALIZED IF THEY WERE LEGIT, THEY SHOULD HAVE THAT INFO. . [EDITED BY AGO BLOG MODERATOR: Dan, please be sure to place an alert on your credit files. You may also want to request a security freeze. Info on both can be found at www.atg.wa.gov/freeze/aspx.]
Posted by: dan hill ( Email ) at 6/13/2011 6:58 PM


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