Even if you don't have an account with US financial giant Capital One, the hacker who stole information concerning millions of Canadian customers may still have you a little concerned. For those Canadians who were among the compromised, there is a lot of information out there to sort through. Understanding the scope of the breach, and what the company is planning to do to make things right, is your first step. Regardless of whether or not your information was stolen in the Capital One data breach, this is an opportunity to review your fraud prevention and preparedness plan.
First, you should know that the hacker has been apprehended and it would seem that Capital One has a pretty good handle on what information was stolen versus what was not. If you suspect you may be compromised, check out these Capital One facts and get in touch with your bank and the company as soon as possible.
While the data breach is unfortunate, the company also pledges to beef up their cybersecurity and ensure a breach like this never happens again. The truth of the matter is, in a world where the internet can connect your bank and credit card companies to people who can hack in and steal information – no company is ever 100% secure from incidents like this. The best thing you can do to protect yourself is to develop a fraud prevention and preparedness plan. It’s important to act right away when you know something is wrong. Credit monitoring is an important part of staying out of debt trouble and avoiding bankruptcy or a consumer proposal.
Being prepared if fraud strikes is actually a method to protect yourself from fraud. Acting quickly when you’ve been compromised is key to reducing the impact a fraudster can have. Reporting suspicious activity and detecting fraud early can stop things from getting worse and potentially help catch thieves faster. Here are a few tips to help you fight and protect yourself from fraud.
Our first tip may seem obvious – don’t share personal information online. Be mindful of where you use your account(s) and don’t share personal information unless you are certain it is safe to do so. In the case of the Capital One data breach, personal information was hacked. When it’s beyond your control, all you can do is move on to our second tip to ensure you reduce the impact if you are hit by fraud.
Keeping fewer accounts will make it easier to control them. If you have many credit cards it can be much easier to miss if someone attacks one of your accounts. Instead of having multiple accounts, try having a credit card for online purchases with a lower balance. Keep this card separate from your primary card and make it the only card you use when shopping online or setting up a subscription. It can help you fight fraud if you can isolate where the perpetrator may have picked up your information.
It costs you nothing to order your Equifax and Transunion reports once a year as a free “consumer disclosure” report that can be mailed to you. Pick a time of year to check in on your credit and order your reports. Review them for any signs of fraudulent activity. Make sure that you study the enquiries section to see who has been accessing your credit history. If you don’t recognize someone, investigate it further and find out why your history was pulled and by whom. Look for items you don’t recognize and report them to the credit bureau immediately. Check your name and personal information, if you don’t recognize an address or alias, report it right away. Your credit report is yours to protect, be vigilant and make sure you check it at least once a year, if not more often when fraud is suspected.
If you suspect that you’ve been a victim of fraud you should report it right away. Seek help and make sure that you take steps to stop any further damage to your credit and/or reputation. If you become a victim of fraud you could end up with debt because of the nature of the fraud itself. You could also end up in a position where you’ve had to rely on credit to make up for the income you’ve lost. If you’ve got debt because of fraud, turn to a professional to help you sort out the best way to get out of debt with the least impact to your credit.
We can help you with a consumer proposal to reduce the amount you have to repay. We can also help with a bankruptcy to clear your name of debt in as few as 9 months. Free yourself from the impact of fraud on your life – and debt – today.