If you or your small business applied for a Capital One credit card between 2015-2019, you may have had your personal information stolen.
The creditor announced that 100 million applications were compromised in a data breach that exposed an estimated 77,000 bank account numbers and 140,000 Social Security numbers.
Capital One is reaching out to those it believes are affected to let them know. If you are a Capital One customer you may enroll to receive texts regarding your account to stay aware of what’s happening.
If you have questions, you can call the number on the back of your credit card to speak to the company.
In the meantime, there are steps you can take to keep your financial information safe. Consider the following tips for protecting your personal data.
Treat Your Credit Cards Like Cash
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) suggests treating credit cards like you treat your cash: Keep them hidden as much as possible. The fewer people that can see them, the better. Also, avoid taking photos of your credit cards and sending the pictures to others.
Sign Up For Credit Monitoring
This is an important way to find out immediately if someone tries to open an account in your name. Credit monitoring is a 24/7 service and may cost a fee, but it’s worth it if you want to know what’s going on with your credit lines.
Enable Two-Factor Authentication
Use your cell phone as another layer of protection when logging into your email account and financial websites, WalletHub advises. It will make it harder for information thieves to find your details.
Leave Some Credit Cards At Home
If you are traveling, Credit.com recommends taking only the cards you need to avoid the possibility of theft. Traveling with a light wallet will minimize your risk.
Write Down Important Information
Create a plan for a worst-case scenario, Credit.com advises. Write down your credit account numbers and the emergent credit company phone numbers. That way, if you get an alert about a data breach or stolen information, you’ll have immediate access and you won’t have to try and log onto websites (to which you may have forgotten the passwords) to find out what happened.
Ignore Unsolicited Requests For Information
It’s best to let calls from unknown numbers go to voicemail, so you don’t pick up and risk giving away any information. Ignore emails from businesses you don’t recognize and be thorough when reading any that come from places with which you already do business. Scammers are becoming more efficient by the minute, and email is a big gateway into personal information.
Make The Call, Don’t Take The Call
If you must discuss your account information with someone, make sure you are the one calling the company you trust, the FTC says. It is more likely that you are calling a trusted phone number than it is that you are getting a call from a creditor.
Don’t Let Data Breaches Keep You From Doing Business
“I don’t believe that people should avoid applying for Capital One credit cards because of this breach,” said WalletHub CEO Odysseas Papadimitriou in a statement. “Pretty much any other big company could easily be in Capital One’s shoes right now, as they’re all under digital fire from hackers.”
“Capital One has been among the most technologically sophisticated credit card companies for years, and you can bet they will double down on making this type of breach as unlikely as possible in the future,” Papadimitriou said.