Finding out someone has cracked open your accounts and helped themselves to your information can be alarming, but there are ways to mitigate the damage while jump-starting your recovery process. Here are five steps to take after being hacked.
Step 1: Assess the damage
First, determine the damage. Unfortunately, one hacked password can be the gateway to multiple hacked accounts and even identity theft. Review your credit card and checking account statements for suspicious activity and try accessing your email, social media accounts and mobile devices to see if they’ve been hacked.
Step 2: Change your passwords
Once you know which accounts and devices have been hacked, change the passwords and PINs on them. For an added measure of protection, it’s a good idea to change the passwords on all your accounts that may hold sensitive information. Remember to choose strong, unique passwords for every account.
Step 3: Protect your credit
Dispute any fraudulent charges on your compromised account(s). If necessary, have the account(s) locked, or even removed.
Next, place a fraud alert on your credit reports. This serves as a red flag to potential lenders and creditors. Also, consider a credit freeze, which blocks potential lenders from accessing your credit report. This makes it impossible for the hacker to open new credit in your name.
Step 4: Alert the authorities
You can alert the FTC of a possible or confirmed identity theft at identitytheft.gov. You’ll also find a detailed recovery plan on the site to help you repair your credit and reclaim your identity.
Hacking is usually done remotely, but it’s still a good idea to let your local law enforcement agencies know about the breach.
Also, if you haven’t already done so, don’t forget to let Partner Colorado know what’s happened. If you’ve been hacked, give us a call to see how we can help.
You can also sign up for our Identity Theft Recovery Services which includes fully managed recovery and lost document replacement, plus other identity fraud detection and recovery benefits.
Step 5: Proceed with caution
It’s important to keep a close eye on your accounts over the next few months. Watch for suspicious activity on all accounts. If you spot any, be sure to let the account holders know and to follow the steps above.
If you’ve opted to go with a credit freeze, it will generally lapse after 90 days. If your accounts are determined to be safe now, you can open new credit and jump-start the recovery of your credit health.
If the hacker went all out and stole your identity, it’s best to follow the recovery plan outlined by the FTC. This plan may include replacing your Social Security number, driver’s license and more.
Getting hacked is never fun, but taking immediate and decisive action can help mitigate the damage, as well as speed up the recovery process. Keep yourself in the know about all the latest scams by signing up for Fraud News and Alerts to receive weekly email updates.