What to Do After a Credit Card Data Breach

Over 100 million Americans may be affected by the latest data breach. Here’s what you need to do.

Hacked by a credit card data breachOn Monday, Capital One accounts that they were working with federal law enforcement after a hacker stole the personal data of over 1 million customers.[1]  The suspect, Paige Thompson, has already been taken into custody by the FBI. Given that Capital One is one of the leading credit card issuers in the U.S., there’s a fair chance that your data may have compromised as part of this latest credit card data breach. Here’s what you need to know…

What data was compromised and for which customers?

The breach is thought to have affected at least “100 million individuals in the United States and approximately 6 million in Canada.”

The good news is that the bulk of the information stolen was limited personal information customers provide during credit applications submitted from 2005 to early 2019.

  • Names
  • Addresses
  • Zip and postal codes
  • Phone numbers
  • Email addresses
  • Dates of birth
  • Self-reported income

The data breach also obtained general customer data information, including credit scores, credit limits, current balances, and payment history. However, no actual credit card account numbers were compromised. Social Security and bank account numbers were only compromised in a limited number of cases:

  • The data breach included 140,000 Social Security numbers for credit card customers.
  • It also included 80,000 linked bank accounts numbers of secured credit card customers.

How Capital One is helping customers affected by the breach

Capital One has readily supplied all of the information they have about the data breach. Their CEO made the following statement:

“While I’m grateful that the perpetrator has been caught, I am deeply sorry for what has happened. I sincerely apologize for the understandable worry this incident must be causing those affected and I am committed to making it right.”

Capital One says they will begin notifying customers that were affected. Following that, they will offer all affected customers free credit monitoring and identity theft protection.

What to do if think you may be affected by a credit card data breach

Increasing security following a credit card data breach
Security button pointing the highest position with two fingers, Conceptual image for risk management

Pay attention to notifications from your credit card company

Capital One credit card customers, particularly secured credit card customers, should watch their email, app and text notifications from company to see if they’re among those affected. Capital One says that they’ll be using a variety of different channels to contact affected customers. If you were a victim, you will want to react quickly if you receive this notification. So, be on the lookout.

Keep an eye on your monthly bank account statements

Since some customers linked bank accounts may have been compromised in the breach, you’ll also want to watch your monthly bank statements. Look for any transactions that you don’t recognize.

You may also want to watch your balance closely if you use your bank’s smartphone app. Most banking apps allow you to send notifications for purchases. Some limit to high amount transactions, while others will notify you of any transactions. These notifications can basically ensure you’re aware of authorized account use as it happens. If you don’t have notifications set already, check the settings in your app to see what you can enable.

Keep a close eye on your credit report

If you have a credit monitoring service, such as Credit Karma or Credit Sesame, or you use Capital One’s CreditWise monitoring service, it should alert you to any major changes in your credit report. All three services monitor your TransUnion credit report. These monitoring services will alert you if there’s a major change in your report that could be a sign of identity theft. For example, if someone opens an account in your name, the app will notify you of that change.

In addition, you may want to take advantage of your annual free credit report downloads through annualcreditreport.com. This will allow you to download your reports from Experian and Equifax, so you can review those reports as well. The credit bureaus don’t always have the same information in your report, so it’s a good idea to check the report from each bureau.

Take more steps to protect your identity after a data breach

“Data breaches are becoming a fairly common occurrence,” says April Lewis-Parks, Education Director for Consolidated Credit. “Breaches with major credit card issuers and retailers usually make national news headlines. However, breaches are even more common with smaller businesses, such as doctor’s offices and dentists. You may not hear about breaches like that, so you need to be proactive and use best practices to protect your identity.”

Consolidated Credit offers the following resources to help you learn the right steps to protect your identity:

Written by :
April Lewis-Parks [email protected] Director of Education and Corporate Communications

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April Lewis-Parks
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