What to do if you’re worried you’ve been the victim of a data breach

Data breaches regularly feature in the news whenever it’s a big name involved, with Dixons Carphone being the latest to get hit.  It’s suggested up to 10 million customers have been involved and the data stolen includes names, email addresses, and postal addresses.  The hackers also got access to records of payments cards, but luckily nearly all of those were protected by the chip and pin system.

Having said that, knowing you’ve been a victim of a data breach can be a concern, and there are a couple of precautionary steps to take following such an event:

Keep an eye on any bank or online accounts

Look out for any transactions you don’t recognise, even tiny ones, as it could be a hacker ‘testing’ to see if you notice unusual payments or if they work, ahead of attempting a larger amount.

If you see anything you’re not 100% on, contact your bank or account holder straight away for confirmation.

Check your credit file regularly

Keep an eye on your credit file to see if anyone is trying to open an account or get credit using your details.  A small amount of data combined with social media and search engine research can add up to enough information to make an application.  Let Action Fraud and the provider know if you spot anything, as well as the credit agency.

Change relevant passwords

It’s worth changing any passwords with the affected accounts if you can. Account providers such as Arro Money rely on memorable numbers combined with mobile phone code sending but some bank accounts still rely on passwords.

Don’t use information such as children or pet names, or anything associated with your address or places you are known to frequent.  Think about anything people could find by checking your social media or by Googling you, and then never use that.

Beware of any calls regarding the data breach

Scammers will sometimes use a data breach or system failure as a way to contact new people and get information under the guise of helping them following the event – this was rife following the TSB computer update.

Be careful if anyone calls, emails or texts you about the breach – if anyone asks for any information such as codes, logins or passwords just hang up.  No reputable company will ask for this information.  Always contact the company, bank or account holder directly on a number you find independently and check if they’ve contacted you.  Report any attempts of this kind of fraud.