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Money Talks: Cyber Security

Expert Ryder Taff from New Perspectives https://www.newper.com/ and guest host Jay White, from MPB's Everyday Tech http://everydaytech.mpbonline.org/ , update listeners on financial data breaches and hacks.


https://www.ftc.gov/ Federal Trade Commission From their site you can file an Equifax Claim, learn about Annual Credit Reports 1-800-322-8228, and find more information.


·      What can you do if you suspect your financial information has been compromised?

Check if your accounts have been affected           Accept the breached company's offer(s) to help.      If the breached company offers to help repair the damage and protect you for a certain amount of time, unless there have been issues with their offer, take them up on it.

Place a fraud alert. If you suspect fraud, place a fraud alert with each of the credit reporting companies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. The alert notifies creditors that you have been a victim of fraud and lets them know to verify that you are actually making new credit requests in your name. Placing a fraud alert does not affect your credit score.

Contact fraud departments. For each business and credit card company where you think an account was opened or charged without your knowledge, contact its fraud department. While you are not responsible for fraudulent charges to an account, you need to report the suspicious activity promptly.


·      What is the difference between a credit freeze and a lock?

If you want to stop anyone from opening credit and requesting loans and services in your name without your permission, you can freeze your credit. You will need to request a freeze with each of the three credit reporting companies, which again are Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. To apply for new credit, you need to unfreeze your credit, again, through each of the credit reporting companies. You can either request a temporary lift of the freeze or unfreeze it permanently.

Credit agencies also offer a service called credit “locking,” which offers the same protections as a freeze, but typically cost a monthly fee. It is easier to unlock verses unfreeze your own credit accounts.


·      What else can you do if you think your financial information has been stolen?

Create a recovery plan. The Federal Trade Commission has a valuable tool that helps you report identity theft and recover your identity through a personal recovery plan. 



·      What can you do anytime to keep an eye on your digital credit information?       

Monitor your credit reports. You get one free credit report a year from the three major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. On your report, look for unusual or unfamiliar activity, such as the appearance of new accounts you didn't open. And watch your credit card accounts and bank statements for unexpected charges and payments.

Sign up for a credit monitoring service. Pick a credit monitoring service that constantly monitors your credit report on major credit bureaus and alerts when it detects unusual activity. To help with the monitoring, you can set fraud alerts that notify you if someone is trying to use your identity to create credit. A credit-reporting service like LifeLock can cost $10 to $30 a month -- or you could use a free service like the one from Credit Karma. Capital One said it will provide free credit monitoring and identity protection to all affected customers.

Credit monitoring only looks for changes on a credit report, indicating that someone is using your personal information to open new accounts in your name. But it does not prevent someone from taking out a loan in your name. That would require a lock or freeze.



·      What are some best practices concerning your financial data?

Consumers should never give out personal details over the telephone, even if the caller seems to represent Capital One or the email appears to be from a Capital One address. Consumers need to be careful whenever they are contacted by an unsolicited caller. Hang up and call the number on your card.

Security experts generally recommend never re-using security passwords and say people should use two-factor authentication on their phones, which requires a user to enter a code sent to their phone or email into an app or website in order to log in from a new device or to change a password. They also say those affected by such hacks should freeze their credit report.

Change and strengthen your online logins, passwords and security Q&A. It's important to immediately change your online login information, passwords, and security questions-and-answers for the breached account(s)-along with your other accounts if they have similar passwords and security Q&A-to limit the reach of the hackers' arms.

Filing your taxes early, before a scammer has the opportunity to use your exposed Social Security number to file a fraudulent tax return.

·      What’s the difference between a hack and a breach?

A breach is when data is unintentionally left unsecured and vulnerable to hacking, as a result of malicious activity or from negligence. A hack specifically refers to the activities of cyber attackers who purposely compromise IT infrastructure to steal information or to hold systems ransom; that’s what happened with Capital One. If your data was part of a breach, it’s possible it was just left exposed online and was not stolen.

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