At Privacy Council, we discuss a lot about preventing identity theft and protecting online privacy, but what happens if your personal information has already been compromised? Whether accidentally or on purpose, it’s not hard for your online privacy to be stolen or tampered with if you haven’t been taking the necessary precautions.
With the access to information online, there are many instances where information gets into the wrong hands or hacks are performed on the systems of large companies. This doesn’t necessarily mean that your information will be used against you, but it does mean your identity is compromised.
Here’s what to do if your online privacy has been invaded:
1. Close accounts and credit cards that are compromised. Or, talk to your institution and discuss how you should handle an account that may become compromised. As a precaution, most institutions will have their customers change their password and monitor the account for fraud.
2. Change passwords on online programs such as email or bank accounts. Avoid using the same sequence of numbers, the last four digits of your SSN or your mother’s maiden name. Be creative and switch up the passwords. Also change them on a regular basis.
3. Place a fraud alert on your credit card report. This will last for 90 days. Also be sure to monitor your reports for any non-authorized transactions.
4. Notify friends and family not to open any emails from you that look strange. If a hacker has gotten into your personal information, spam emails may be sent to everyone in your online address book.
5. If necessary, file a report with the police. This is a necessary step in fighting for your rights, as identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes and one that you should be protected against.
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