Financial Tips

Your Plan of Attack After a Hack

Debit and credit cards can make paying bills and shopping online simple, but it can also leave you open to data breaches that expose your personal information. While having your card number stolen can be alarming, there are steps you can take to protect yourself.

  • Check your statements for any signs of fraudulent activity. If you have access to online statements, check them frequently, and report any suspicious activity to your card issuer immediately. The sooner you spot a problem, the easier it will be to deal with.
  • If you suspect that your number may have been exposed, call your credit card company, financial institution, or the company itself and tell them that.
  • You can always request a new credit or debit card from the issuer or ask that your PIN number be changed.
  • Many financial institutions and credit card companies allow you to set up email or text alerts that notify you if purchases exceed a certain amount, if they are made online or internationally, or if your balance reaches a certain level. These alerts can be early warnings that something isn’t right.
  • Go to one of the three main credit bureaus—Experian, Equifax, or TransUnion—and place a fraud alert on your account. A fraud alert is good for one year and will make it harder for someone to open a new account in your name. You are also entitled to one free credit report per year from each of the credit bureaus. Look these over carefully for any accounts you don’t recognize.

Having your card number stolen can be a hassle, but by staying alert and spotting the fraud earlier on, you can make it much easier to deal with the problem.