Last week, it was a former Amazon employee and self-proclaimed “hacker” from Seattle, WA. that broke through the steel barrier of the third-largest credit card issuer, Capital One, which exposed 105m peoples’ financial and personal data. Last year, the Equifax security breach resulted in the release of 143m Social Security numbers and personal data. It would be nice to believe that the threat is over and that we’ve finally learned how to create an impenetrable system but that’s wishful thinking; the risks have never been greater. So how can you protect yourself from the vulnerabilities of the institution that you’ve entrusted your money and financial information?
Unfortunately, there’s no perfect way to keep your data from global exposure. It’s better to proceed with caution and get ready to act should there be a breach in the future.
Both Capital One and Equifax have said that they will reach out to customers directly if their data was exposed. This exudes minimal confidence as it’s obvious that there’s no watchers over the watchers; there’s no way to determine if damage has been done which could form any reasonable legal recourse.
Besides writing your Congressman, there are certain strategies to keep your data relatively secure. Consider the following:
Freeze your credit. If you’re not applying for a loan or a new credit card, you can file to have your credit frozen, and prevent the illegitimate accessing of your credit accounts or reports. You can do this at any of the major reporting agencies: Experian, Transunion, or Equifax.
Sign up for a credit monitoring service. Capital One offers a dark web monitoring service, Creditwise, which scans for your financial data and alerts you if there’s a match.
Change all passwords at least quarterly. Fishing is when someone breaks into your personal email and pretends to be you. They may email your financial advisor or bank requesting a money transfer. Never transact money over email or Facebook. It’s better to be safe and always call your financial advisor* when requesting a transaction.
Use a secondary authentication when available. More email and financial services are offering the use of duel authentication, which is when they’ll text you pass-code in order to access the website. It can be a hassle, but this could be what protects you from a breach.
Never loose sight of your credit card. Obtain a credit card that uses the “tap” feature and don’t leave your card out of sight. The tap allows for a quick, secure transaction and never input your PIN, which can be recorded. If you want to shop online, Capital One can generate an alias credit card number that you can use for only online transactions.
At Eureka Wealth Management, I take data protection very seriously. *Always call me at (760) 537-0791 for a transaction request and send documents using Google Drive instead of attaching them to an email. If you’re concerned about your cash sitting at Capital One from the breach, Betterment offers clients 2.44% interest on their savings account. Book a free, initial consultation with me at eurekawealthmanagement.com to learn more.
Data protection resources