3 Steps to Take if Your Personal Information Has Been Caught in a Data Breach

October 13, 2021

You hear it on the news. You read it in the paper. You see it on Facebook. The headline might read: “Major Data Breach - Millions Affected!” It’s happening more and more. 

According to a recent report, there have been 1,767 breaches reported in the first half of 2021. This rash of online scams and fraud due to data breaches has affected major companies such as Eye Care Network, Parler, CVS Health, Hobby Lobby, and the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, just to name a few. The recent data breach of T-Mobile, one of the biggest this year, impacted 50 million of the mobile phone service’s customers. 

With data breaches and online scams becoming more common, it’s only a matter of time before it affects you or someone you know. We previously outlined the steps you need to take to help avoid data breaches, but there is still a chance you could be at risk. Don’t panic if you receive notification from a recently breached company which states that your personal information may have been exposed. Instead, take action. 

Below, we’ll show you how to protect yourself after a data breach by following three key steps. 

1. Change Your Passwords After a Data Breach 


Since your personal information may have been compromised, it’s possible that cybercriminals now have access to your various online accounts. But which ones? Instead of spending too much time trying to determine which accounts may be compromised, use that time to take appropriate action. This can be done by updating your passwords for each of your online accounts. From healthcare provider portals to online banking to major retailers, you’ll want to change your passwords so these criminals can’t access your accounts. 

For extra security, we also recommend setting up two-factor authentication for all of your online accounts. This extra security measure makes it harder for hackers to access your accounts and information. For example, the two-step authentication process may prompt questions that only you can answer. In other cases, it may send a special access code as a text message to your cell phone. These extra steps make it extremely difficult for criminals to retrieve your information. 


2. Alert Your Bank About the Data Breach

After you reset your passwords and establish two-step authentication processes for your accounts, it’s time to safeguard your financial information. You should immediately notify your bank or credit union if a recent breach potentially exposed your banking, debit or credit card information. When speaking with a banking professional, explain that your information may be vulnerable due to a recent security breach. Then request that your financial institution monitor your accounts and bank statements for any suspicious activity. If the bank spots odd charges to your cards (especially if they are out of state or out of the country), they’ll be able to freeze and prevent the criminals’ access to your money. 

Your bank may even recommend destroying your current credit and debit cards and issuing new replacement cards as a safety measure. This is a great idea as you can then update your newly protected online accounts with this new card info.


3. Request a Free Credit Report After a Data Breach 

Once your banking information and credit card/debit cards are secured, it’s time to implement the final step to protect your information. If cybercriminals did access your personal information, they may be trying to open up new accounts in your name. To prevent them from doing so, you’ll want to request a free credit report. This will allow you to monitor your credit to ensure that criminals are not using your information to set up fraudulent accounts. You can also go the extra mile and place a Fraud Alert on your credit report, or even freeze your credit so that no one—not even you—can open a new credit account in your name.

There is one more way you can defend your personal information from cybercriminals: working with trusted companies who go the extra mile to ensure your safety online. By putting your trust in a private email service like Reagan.com you’ll take significant action toward protecting the privacy of your personal information. While Big Tech email service providers are more vulnerable to online criminal activity, Reagan.com takes extra measures to ensure your privacy. We guarantee that our customers’ personal data is never copied, scanned or sold to third-parties. Join today and take a stand against security breaches. 

Carry on Ronald Reagan's tradition of support for personal freedom and conservative values by signing up for your own Reagan.com email address. Our secure private email service will keep your information and personal communications safe.

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