106 million individuals had their data compromised by the Capital One credit
A smaller number — 140,000 customers — had their Social Security numbers
Security experts recommend taking a few immediate steps, such as freezing
your credit and upping your security process.
If you're among the 106 million individuals who hold a Capital One credit
card or who applied for one, your personal data — including self-reported
income and birth date — could be in the hands of scammers. Experts recommend
taking the five steps below to keep your finances safe.
1. Freeze your credit
Security experts are unanimous that a credit freeze is an essential step to
protect your data and halt scammers from creating fake accounts in your name.
Freezing your credit at the three credit-reporting bureaus is now free, and
can be done online or over the phone. You'll need your name, address, date of
birth, Social Security number and other personal information, according to
the Federal Trade Commission. Each credit bureau will give you a PIN, which
you can then use to lift your freeze when you need to apply for credit, such
as a mortgage or a car loan or a new credit card.
Here are the links to where you can freeze your credit at the three
Security experts note that a freeze is much more effective than a fraud
alert. Credit freezes don't affect your credit score, but they prevent loans
and other services from being opened in your name without your consent. A
fraud alert simply is a red flag alerting companies to the fact you may have
been the victim of fraud.
2. Enable two-factor authentication
Adding an extra layer of security to your logins can help prevent scammers
from gaining access to your accounts. The most common form of two-factor
authentication is when a business texts you a one-time code that enables you
to access your account.That means a hacker would need to have access to your
mobile phone as well as your account information in order to gain access to
3. Sign up for credit monitoring
These services can help you keep close tabs on your accounts, alerting you if
someone opens an unauthorized account in your name or even another family
member's name. Some sites offer free access to credit monitoring, such as
WalletHub's free monitoring of TransUnion credit accounts.
4. Don't get phished
Ignore unsolicited requests for information, which could be phishing
attempts, or when hackers pretend to be a trusted company or individual,
recommends financial site WalletHub. If you haven't been asked to be
contacted, don't respond to the email, its experts say.
Capital One is asking that consumers who believe they receive a fraudulent
email seeking their data forward the email to abuse@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx. After
forwarding the email, the company recommends deleting it.
5. Change your passwords regularly
Consumers can also protect themselves by taking a step that most don't
follow: Changing their passwords. And of course, too many consumers continue
to use easy-to-guess passwords like "123456."
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