What to do when your personal information has been compromised

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Delta Jones Walker

Earlier this week, Capital One announced that more than 100 million credit card customers and applicants had their personal information compromised due to a hacking incident back in March. This news spread like wildfire and has caused quite a bit of panic as Capital One customers scramble to uncover whether their identities have been stolen. Fortunately, the perpetrator of the crime has been apprehended.

Upon hearing news of the breach, I immediately posted the story on my social media channels but felt that I should take it a step further by writing an article about what to do when your identity has possibly been compromised.

Without question, the first step would be to contact the company that has been impacted by the security breach. Whether it’s a credit card company, a government entity or even the credit reporting agencies, they most likely have implemented a plan to communicate with customers who have been potentially impacted. Do not wait for them to reach out to you. Call them and find out what steps if any you need to take.

Another sensible step is to contact your financial institutions, mortgage company and other places where you have lines of credit to inform them that your identity may have been compromised. By informing these entities proactively, they can be on the lookout for any suspicious or irregular activities on your accounts.

Next, freeze your credit cards and get replacements. This step is further assurance that hackers cannot charge items to your current credit accounts. It may seem like a hassle, but better safe than sorry.

Pay close attention to your credit card and bank statements. Review your statements starting with the ones that began when the breach occurred. Look for small things like unauthorized purchases and withdrawals. Contact your bank and credit card companies to dispute any discrepancies.

Obtain a copy of your credit report.  Since you should be monitoring your credit anyway, obtain a copy of your credit report and review it for any new charges, newly created accounts or suspicious activity. If any are discovered, immediately reach out to all three credit reporting agencies to dispute the activity and have it removed from your credit report.

Lastly, don’t panic.  In a world filled with constant technological advances, breaches will happen. It is up to you to stay on top of your accounts on a consistent basis which decreases the likelihood that you will fall victim to identity theft.

Connect with Delta Jones-Walker and Atled Financial on Facebook, Twitter: @Atled_Financial and LinkedIn! To schedule a complimentary consultation or a presentation to your group or organization, call 219-513-3710 or email djwalker@atledfinancial.com and mention this column. Topic ideas for this column are welcome!

*Securities and advisory services offered through Woodbury Financial Services, Inc., member FINRA/ SIPC. Insurance services offered through Atled Financial Group 717 B Main Street Schererville, IN 46375 which is not affiliated with Woodbury Financial.

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