Ways to protect yourself after a data breach

There were 1,802 breaches in 2022, per Identity Theft Resource Center
Published: Apr. 25, 2023 at 3:47 PM EDT
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InvestigateTV - More than 422 million people were impacted by data breaches in 2022, according to a report from the Identity Theft Resource Center.

If your data was breached, financial experts recommend requesting a credit alert. To do so, go to AnnualCreditReport.com, which funnels you to the three credit bureaus, Experian, TransUnion and Equifax. From there, you can put a credit alert on each of your online accounts.

“It’s pretty simple, Cherry Dale, financial education director for Virginia Credit Union, explained. “You put in your information and there’s a fraud alert on there. Now, this is not a credit freeze. Credit freeze would be the next step. Or if you are feeling very vulnerable go ahead and put a credit freeze on there.”

While a fraud alert only notifies a potential lender you have been compromised in some way, a credit freeze would prevent anyone from being able to open a card in your name. You would need to use your personalized pin to unfreeze your credit and allow lenders to access your credit in that case.

Dale said neither a fraud alert nor a credit freeze prevents you from being able to get a loan. You just may have to take extra steps to verify your identity.

If you do set up fraud alerts, Dale recommended you get a free credit report from the three credit bureaus so you can make sure all your information is correct.