With so much of our lives taking place online, most people have a huge amount of their personal data at one place or another on the Internet. And although many of the websites that people frequent online are generally secure, there’s still always a chance that hackers could get to that data or that another type of breach could take place.
If there’s been a data breach that could affect you, it’s important for you to know what steps to take in order to best protect yourself. To show you what you can and should do, here are three things to do if your data gets breached.
Immediately Change Your Passwords
As soon as you’ve been made aware that a breach has taken place, even if you’re not sure whether your information has been compromised or not, DaveRamsey.com shares that the first thing you should do is immediately change your password on the website that has been breached. If you’re able to do this soon enough, you may be able to protect your information.
When changing your password, make sure you create a password that’s going to be strong enough for hackers not to easily crack it. This means you should use both uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. Additionally, you should try not to choose something that could easily be guessed based on some very basic information that others might be able to find about you online.
Find Out What Information Was Taken
Once you’ve been told about a data breach that you’re impacted by, you should do everything in your power to undercover exactly what information was taken.
According to Nicole Martin, a contributor to Forbes.com, some information is going to be potentially more harmful to you than other information. For example, someone getting your name, phone number, or address isn’t necessarily a big deal since that information could easily be found online or in a phonebook. But if someone was able to learn your email address or your birthdate, they could potentially do more damage to you with that data. By learning what information was taken, you can gauge how big of a deal this breach was.
Set Up A Fraud Alert
Even if your information has been breached, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s going to be used against you, either now or ever. But to ensure that you’re made aware in the event that it is, Experian.com recommends that you set up a fraud alert.
With a fraud alert system in place for your information, you’ll be made aware if anyone tries to open a new line of credit for you. Along with this, the major credit bureaus will also let lenders know that you may have been a victim of fraud.