Data breaches can have a serious impact on people’s safety. Depending on the extent of the data breach and the exact information leaked, you could end up falling prey to anything from a few fraudulent charges against your bank account to someone completely stealing your identity.
In this case, ignorance is not bliss. It’s important for you to know about data breaches when they occur, and then to learn more about how to follow up with them afterward. Here’s what you should know about tackling data breaches:
Keep an Eye On the News
When a data breach is especially large, it’s likely to make headlines in national or local newspapers. This is especially true when it comes to big, nationwide breaches. The Equifax data breach, for example, reigned over headlines for many months.
The news can be overwhelming and scary for you to try and stay up-to-date with. But even just looking at the headlines can help you determine if your personal data is potentially at risk. Try to keep an eye on the news for this information.
Pay Attention to Cybersecurity Sources
Want to make absolutely sure you know when a data breach occurs? You can stay up-to-date by checking sources that focus on that sort of thing. If you find a news source dedicated to reporting on data breaches and security concerns, it’s more likely that you’ll see even data breaches that don’t make it to national headlines.
Remember, even “small” data breaches can leak a lot of important information. You don’t want to deal with any more spam emails than you already receive. (And that could just be the tip of the iceberg.) If you want to stay as safe as possible, paying attention to cybersecurity news sources is an important thing to do as regularly as you can.
Read Your Email Regularly
Some people receive thousands of emails per month, which can make it difficult to keep up. However, it’s an important way to make sure you stay safe. Most companies that experience data breaches will need to send out an email informing past and current customers of the breach and letting them know what information may have been compromised.
The good news is, there are plenty of tips and tricks that can help you organize your email inbox. You may also want to set up an alert for keywords like “breach” or “data breach,” which can bring your attention to emails that may actually need you to take action.
Be Careful of Phishing Attempts in the Aftermath of Data Breaches
In the aftermath of a data breach, especially a highly-publicized one, there will always be phishers attempting to capitalize on it. These phishers pretend to be from the company and ask for sensitive personal information to “determine whether you were impacted” or to “file for compensation.”
If you receive an email stating any of these things, it’s a good idea to search around the internet and see whether the company’s actually sending out information about it. If you can’t even find a single official press release or newspaper article, it could be a phishing attempt. You can always email the company at the email address on its website to make sure.
Or look more closely at the email itself. Hover your cursor over clickable buttons or links in the questionable email to see if they go to a legitimate web address. Note any grammatical errors or panic-inducing language. Lookup the email address to try and verify where it’s coming from.
Keep an Eye On Your Identity in the Future
Data breaches typically portend future problems, not immediate ones. Immediate problems can certainly pop up. But it’s not uncommon for scammers to hold onto your information for months or even years (until you’ve probably forgotten about it), then start using it all at once.
If you need to keep an eye on your information, you can use a public information site. Using such a site may give you insight into whether or not a recent data breach has impacted your identity. Perform a people search on yourself every so often to see whether your information has changed without your knowledge. If it has, it could be time to look into identity theft safety.
Data breaches are serious. Even if the amount of data leaked doesn’t seem that serious, it’s important to pay attention to any breaches that happen so you know what’s out in the open.
If you want to know more about how other ways to stay safe in your daily life, remember to read the PeopleFinders blog for plenty of helpful, up-to-date information.
Image attribution: Rawpixel.com – stock.adobe.com