What consumers should do in case of a data breach

Many well-known companies have been victims of data breaches the past few years, in some cases with millions of consumers being affected. While you can’t stop a cybercriminal from targeting businesses, here are some “to-do” items in case your information is included in a data breach.


What to do in case of a data breach

If a company you frequent is hit with a data breach, do not overreact. It does not mean you are a victim of a cyberattack. It simply means that some of your information may have been accessed by cybercriminals. Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, a nonprofit consumer education and advocacy organization, details several steps you can take to prevent becoming a victim of a cybercrime when your information was included in a data breach.  Whether the affected personal information involves a debit, credit card account or other financial account, the steps you can take include:

  • Determine what type of account may have been affected.
  • Monitor all accounts for suspicious activity.
  • Alert your financial institution of any fraudulent transactions.
  • Cancel the account and order a replacement card or account number.
  • Ask your financial institution to set up text alerts for activity on your accounts.
  • If you are contacted about the security breach over the phone, do not give out personal information.


Data breaches can extend beyond financial account information. They can also affect government documents such as your driver’s license or your Social Security number. If a government document has been impacted, contact the agency that issued the document to see what steps should be taken. If your Social Security number was compromised, contact one of the three credit reporting agencies – Experian, Equifax or TransUnion – to place a fraud alert or a security freeze on your credit report. Contact information for these credit reporting agencies can be found on the Federal Trade Commission’s website at www.ftc.gov.


These tips are provided by the Iowa Bankers Association.