55ºF

Help Me Hank data breach checklist

Save this information on how to protect your accounts

DETROIT – Personal data of nearly 200 million voters was exposed by a security breach Monday. The breach is supposedly by a private contractor running a large database for the Republican National Committee.

Names, addresses, home phone numbers and who the person likely voted for had been store by Deep Root Analytics on an unsecure Amazon server, which existed on the internet in a way that anyone could have downloaded the data. Deep Root Analytics took “full responsibility” for the lapse.

The data was exposed between June 1-14, but was sealed after the exposure was found.

We’re living in a time where data breaches are common, especially when it comes to major food chains and larger retailers.

Working with the Better Business Bureau, Help Me Hank has come up with these guidelines to help you protect your credit or debit cards before, or after, you suspect they've been involved in a breach.

1) Stay calm. Consumers are not liable for fraudulent charges on stolen account numbers.

2) Check with the website of the retailer for the latest information. Type the store name directly into your browser. Do not click on a link from an email or social media message.

3) Remember to beware of emails that may come into your inbox, claiming to help you deal with the crisis. Those emails could be fake, hoping you'll click on a dangerous link or share personal information.

4) If your card was compromised, you will likely hear from the bank or card-issuer first. If you have questions, call the customer service number on your card.

5) Consider putting fraud alerts on all your accounts. Check with each bank or financial institution on how to do so. You can usually set a dollar amount that will spark a fraud warning, if the company sees suspicious activity.

6) Monitor all your financial accounts carefully. If you have computer access, try checking your account weekly. Do not wait for the monthly statement.

7) If you see a fraudulent charge, report it to your bank or credit card issuer immediately so the charge can be reversed and a new card issued.

8) Keep receipts so you can prove which charges are legitimate.

9) Be careful about how often you use your debit card. If you debit card is hacked, thieves will be stealing your money, and debit cards do not have the same protections as credit cards. Make sure you know what kind of protection your account will offer.

10) Consider having a "dirty" credit card. This card would be used for all public transaction and online purchases. Ideally, you can pay it off each month and if it's hacked you'll have better protection. Use your debit card for getting cash, and use other credit cards for major purchases.

11) Change your passwords on financial accounts frequently. Also, make sure you create "strong" passwords that will not be easily guessed.

12) When you hear about a breach, share that information with family and friends, so they can also follow these steps to protect themselves.


About the Author: