Recently we learned of a high profile breach at Anthem that allowed an unknown actor or actors to steal private information about their clients. The event itself is nothing new. Hardly a month goes by without hearing of numerous small breaches. The one dimension that changes this breach from some of the others is that the information was concerning everything a person would need to change your financial information or to gain new lines of credit.
While we don’t know yet who is responsible we do know of ways we can protect ourselves and each other online. The following advice should be heeded regardless of the situation and will only serve to keep you safer.
1. Check your Financial information
- Make time to review your bank statements and credit card transactions and report anything that seem suspicious. Anthem is currently offering one year of credit monitoring for free. Several banks and credit cards also offer this as a service.
- Freeze your credit. If you are not currently trying to pull your credit, you can contact the big three credit agencies and freeze your credit until you are ready. But please keep in mind you will have to create a unique 4 digit pin to unfreeze your credit when you are ready to use it again.
Equifax – https://www.freeze.equifax.com or 1-800-685-1111. (Press 3 to escape the long recording.)
Experian – https://www.experian.com/freeze/center.html or 1-888-397-3742
TransUnion – http://www.transunion.com/securityfreeze or 1-888-909-8872
One important point to note is that As soon as one credit bureau confirms your fraud alert, the other two credit bureaus will be automatically notified to place fraud alerts. You should be aware that a fraud alert may make it more difficult for you to obtain credit or process financial transactions. While it will not affect your credit, it will likely slow down the credit application process.
2. File your taxes at your earliest opportunity. Currently the IRS has no real way to dispute a tax claim that was filed and little can be done. It is important to note that the IRS will send you a letter over any other form of communication. If you receive phone calls about fraud or some other scare tactic, it should be ignored and then reported.
3. Most financial institutions have the ability for you to create a secret passphrase or code word when dealing with them on the phone. If you don’t have one in place it is highly recommended that you do.
4. Phishing emails seem to go hand in hand with large data breaches and natural disasters. In one fashion or another someone is trying to prey more on your emotional response than your logical. The most telling sign is misspellings or strange URL’s to links.
5. Report the information to your appropriate State or Federal Agency. I cannot stress this enough. In Security much like law enforcement, if no one knows something has happened or will happen there is no way to prevent this and protect you.
6. Stay vigilant. It may turn out that no one has done anything with you financial information but it may not always stay that way. It could happen in 1, 2 or even 10 years from now. In this brave new world of the internet of things one fact that we need to become comfortable with is, if it is out there, then it will always be out there and all we can do is
If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to reach out to us and we will be more than happy to help.