Data Breached? What to Do Now


In reaction to the news of Marriott's mammoth data breach, after the requisite "I told you so," Kevin Iwamoto, senior vice president at GoldSpring Consulting and author of M&C's "Industry Insights" column, provided five action steps that anyone affected by a data breach should do immediately.

1. Notify any of the three main credit bureaus -- TransUnion, Equifax or Experian -- that your data has been compromised, and place a temporary or permanent credit freeze on your account. This means you can't apply for new loans or credit cards without temporarily removing the freeze, but it also prevents data thieves from using your information to apply for new credit cards or loans. The credit bureaus will notify each other of your credit freeze request, so you just need to file it with any of the three.

2. Notify the credit-card provider that you are a victim of a data breach, and cancel the credit card that was affected by the breach. Have the company issue you a new card, and change your online access password and pin codes immediately.  

3. Carefully review your credit-card statements for unauthorized charges regularly.

4. Subscribe to a credit monitoring and notification service, such as Experian, LifeLock, IdentityForce or Identity Guard.

5. Change your passwords regularly, and don't use the same password for multiple accounts. There's no need to memorize them -- or to rely on the frustration of requesting password reminders. Free apps can safely store your passwords. Try Dashlane, Sticky Password, RoboForm or Password Boss.