Beware of Scams That Follow Data Breach Reports

Data breaches are in the news so often that many people are ignoring them. By ignoring the breaches, these persons could be easy targets for scammers. Scammers are taking advantage of announced data breaches by using concern about the report or the stolen data to “phish” for more information such as credit card and bank account numbers. For example, with the recent eBay announcement, phishing scams have appeared as an email from “eBay” asking you to re-enter your credit card information and as a phone call from an “eBay” employee who wants you to verify your credit card information.

What can you do to protect yourself?

To avoid phishing scams, don’t click on links in emails, texts, tweets, or other communications that ask for personal information, even if the communication is from an organization, business, or person you trust. If you think the request is legitimate, go to the affected organization’s website using a bookmark or other trusted source.

Regularly change your passwords on all the sites you use whether there has been a data breach or not. Don’t use the same password on multiple sites. Our How to Build Decent Passwords article has tips for creating and remembering strong passwords.

Don’t rely on passwords alone. If a site offers additional security features such as two-factor authentication, then use them.

Use security software on all of your devices and keep it updated.

Keep all of your software updated. Make sure that you are using the latest version of your browsers. Always update any apps, especially those that have any personal or financial information or that have access to it.

Additional tips can be found in the following resources:

Remar’s Report: Heartbleed Won’t Be the Last! Tips for Staying Safe Online

Gen Y with Will: How to Build Decent Passwords

Phishing from the Federal Trade Commission

Consumer Reports Guide to Internet Security


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