Do you ever feel like you’re just a number? Well, you’re not. But your numbers — bank account numbers, credit card numbers, Social Security number — are important. They are the gateway to your finances, your privacy and even your identity. And when others get their hands on those numbers, they can create huge problems for you.
- In 2010, 7% of U.S. consumers received a data breach notification.
- Data breach victims spend an average of 41 hours on resolution. I don’t know about you, but there’s a lot of stuff I’d rather spend 41 hours doing.
- In 2010, 16,167,542 records were exposed. Yes, that’s more than 16 million.
Once thieves get their hands on your data, they can do a whole lot with it, including tax fraud, employment-related fraud, loan fraud and much more.
In February, health insurer Anthem learned of a cyber-attack on its information technology system. Up to 80 million customers may have had their personal information compromised. Anthem’s companies include Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, Anthem Blue Cross, Empire BlueCross BlueShield, Anthem Life Insurance, as well as affiliated specialty companies.
And the breaches haven’t slowed down. On March 17, Premera Blue Cross revealed that it, too, had experienced a data breach that affected up to 11 million people. The information accessed may include name, date of birth, Social Security number, mailing address, email address, telephone number, member identification number, bank account information and claims information including clinical information. In other words, just about anything a thief would need to steal your identity and cause endless problems for you.
I don’t know what worries me more, having my financial or medical information compromised. I guess both. And once thieves have your Social Security number, well, I don’t even have to tell you what a big hassle that could be.
Most large corporations that discover a data breach offer free identity protection services to affected customers, but the problem with waiting for that offer is that the corporations might not discover the breach for weeks, months or even years.
So what can you do? Thankfully, there are tools that will give you a fighting chance against the bad guys.
Take your safety into your own hands by using LifeLock to protect your identity. LifeLock provides three layers of protection:
- Detect: LifeLock searches more than a trillion data points every day. A handful of those could be yours if you sign up.
- Alert: If LifeLock finds something suspicious, it will notify you immediately.
- Restore: If you are victimized, Member Services agents are available 24/7 and a Certified Resolution Specialist will handle your case every step of the way. Remember, restoring your personal identity is probably new to you and would require a great deal of research and work, but LifeLock does this all the time.
If somebody tries to get a car loan, open a bank account, apply for a job (or anything more) with your personal information, you’ll be notified and can immediately say “Yes, this is me,” or “No, this isn’t me.” Talk about peace of mind.
The best part is that LifeLock can help stop identity fraud before damage can be done — not months later. Learn more about LifeLock now.
Are you one of the people whose data was breached? What was your experience? How did you handle it? Please share by leaving a comment below.
This content was produced in collaboration with our sponsor LifeLock.