If your personal information has been compromised in a data breach, you could be at an increased risk of identity theft. Leaked data can either be released publicly, sold, or kept private for targeted campaigns. When you add each of your email addresses to Guardio's Data Breach Monitoring service, Guardio shows all known data leaks for those email addresses.
Guardio alerted me of a breached account. What's next?
- Change Your Password For the Breached Account.
Do this first and make sure that you choose a strong password that can't be easily guessed. Focus on creating long passwords with both upper and lower case letters and numbers and special characters. These are the toughest for hackers to guess. We have some tips to help with that here: How to Create a Strong Password that You Will Remember.
If you plan to close your account with the breached service, it is still important that you change the password first. Many websites offer the option to reactivate a deleted account. By changing your password, you ensure that a hacker can't reactivate the account without your consent or knowledge.
- Change Your Password for any Website where you used the Same or a Similar Password.
While you should never use the same password for multiple accounts, we realize it still happens. By using the same password for multiple sites or services, when one account is breached, any accounts that use the same password or a similar password are also at risk. You should change each of those passwords as a proactive approach to ensure they aren't accessed without your consent.
- Check Other Accounts for Signs of Unauthorized Access.
Once a hacker has your email address or your password, they have 50% of the information they need to access your other accounts. If you used the same password for another account, they're extremely likely to be affected as well. If you aren't sure where to start, use this order of priority:
- Your email account(s) - when you forget your password, most sites send your password reset link to your email account. Unauthorized access to your email account provides unlimited unauthorized access to any account linked to that email address.
- Online Banking, Credit Cards, and Loan websites
- Websites where your card information is stored (Amazon, grocery delivery services, utilities you pay online, any other site where you enter card information)
- Accept the Breached Company's Offer to Help.
Following a data breach, most companies offer help to repair the damage and protect you for a set amount of time. This offer to help might include compensation for time and money spent attempting to repair the damage yourself, a subscription to a credit monitoring service, or any other reparation deemed necessary to minimize the damage to your personal information.
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