How to Handle a Social Media Data Leak

Author: PeopleFinders on May 20th, 2020
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No one wants to hear that their favorite social media site has suffered a data leak. Unfortunately, it happens often, as many websites continue to figure out the best way to set up security protocols to keep internet criminals out. When you see that your favorite social media site has been compromised, it’s easy to panic. But don’t freak out yet. Take a deep breath, and use this guide to clean up any information that may have been leaked about you.

Carefully Assess What May Have Been Leaked

When a company comes out about being hacked, it’ll disclose some information about what was leaked. Was it simply a list of email addresses? Just a group of phone numbers, which you only provided for authentication? Or was it a combination of emails and passwords? Were all users affected, or just some? These are all extremely important things to find out when you first learn about a data leak.

Another thing you should determine is how much information you provided to the site. Phone numbers were leaked, but you never provided your real phone number; in that case, you’re fine. If the email that you used to sign up was leaked, but you use it as a junk email address anyway, then you won’t need to worry about the spam emails that are sure to come. By determining your risk factors, it’s more likely that you’ll be able to proceed in the best way possible.

Determine What You’ll Need to Change

If something extremely important has been leaked–passwords, credit card info, etc.–you’ll have to change it. This can be very time-consuming and frustrating. But at the end of the day, it’ll keep you safer. The key to this is determining what you’ll have to change and where each change needs to happen. Think of it like changing your name. If you change your name, you’ll need to change your records at the bank, with your insurance company, with any medical professionals you visit, and on any informal records.

It’s the same process with data leaks. If your password was leaked, you need to determine where you used that same password, and then change it to something else. If your phone number was potentially put on a spam list, you should find out whether to change your phone number or simply install an anti-spam app. Or if your primary email address was leaked, make your email filters a little stronger, and be extra wary of unknown senders for a while.

Keep an Eye on Your Internet Security Moving Forward

After you’ve been the victim of a data leak, you’re probably going to be naturally more careful moving forward. Most people don’t ever think about the possibility of having their information stolen. But when it does happen, you’re more likely to take security precautions seriously. Everyone can make a mistake now and then, but it’s important to keep your internet presence clean of personal identifying information. That’s where a public records site like PeopleFinders can help.

When you use the internet frequently, keeping your information protected should always be your number one goal. Every so often, it’s a good idea to perform a background check on yourself to makes sure that your vital information is correct. If you’re already on top of such information, you’ll be able to more easily clean things up after a data leak. Even better, you’ll be able to prepare yourself for a future leak.


At the end of the day, surviving a data leak is all about being prepared. By taking steps like using different passwords for different websites, not putting your private information into the public sphere, and having strong anti-spam protocols in place, you can survive a data leak relatively unscathed. Whether you’re preparing for a potential data leak in the future, or cleaning up the mess that hackers have left behind, PeopleFinders is a great resource.

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Categorized in: Digital Identity