Data Breaches; What to Know and What to Do

Did you recently get a notice that says your personal information was exposed in a data breach? Did you lose your wallet? or learn that an online account was hacked? Depending on what information was lost, there are steps you can take to help protect yourself from identity theft.

If your information has been exposed, visit for detailed advice about your particular situation.

Depending on the type of information exposed, the next few steps tells you what to do right away. You’ll find these steps, and more, at

What information was lost or exposed?


If a company responsible for exposing your information offers you free credit monitoring, take advantage of it.

Get your free credit reports from Check for any accounts or charges you don’t recognize.

Consider placing a credit freeze. A credit freeze makes it harder for someone to open a new account in your name. If you decide to not place a credit freeze, at least consider placing a fraud alert.

Try to file your taxes early, before a scammer can. Tax identity theft happens when someone uses your Social Security Number to get a tax refund or a job.


Log into that account and change your password. If possible, also change your username. If you can’t log into it, contact the company. Ask them how you can recover or shut down the account.

If you use the same password anywhere else, change that, too.

Is it a financial site or is your credit card number stored? Check your account for any charges that you don’t recognize.


If your bank information was exposed, contact your bank to close the account and open a new one.

If credit or debit card information was exposed, contact your bank or credit card company to cancel your card and request a new one.

(Federal Trade Commission)