Worried about the Capital One data breach? Here's what to do

Millions of people were affected by the security breach at Capital One. The company said a hacker gained access to 100 million credit applications.

Capital One said you will be notified if you were affected by the breach, but if you are wondering, if you applied for a credit card with the company from 2005 through early 2019, then it is likely you were affected.

The company claimed no credit card account numbers or log-in credentials were compromised but 140,000 social security numbers and nearly 80,000 bank account numbers were compromised. The personal information that could be at risk are the names, addresses, zip codes, phone numbers, email addresses, dates of birth, self-reported income, credit scores, and credit balances.

If you were affected, make sure you monitor your credit for fraudulent activity. If you spot anything, report it right away. Also change your passwords and consider two-factor authentication. For extra protection, you might want to consider a security freeze.

Investigators arrested Paige A. Thompson, who also goes by the handle "erratic," in connection with the breach. Thompson was charged with a single count of computer fraud and abuse in U.S. District Court in Seattle. Thompson made an initial appearance in court and was ordered to remain in custody pending a detention hearing Thursday.

Robert Goldfinger a Global Financial Crimes Expert, BAE Systems Applied Intelligence said data is becoming the new currency for criminals.

"It easier to steal data from behind the keyboard than it is to walk into a bank and steal money," Goldfinger said.

BAE Systems Applied Intelligence is a global cybersecurity company that helps businesses defend themselves against cybercrime and reduce risk in the connected world.

Goldfinger said that though banks and financial institutions do have many safeguards in place to prevent security breaches, more can be done.

"Investing more money, getting more qualified people. How do they monitor both internal and external people that have access to the data?" he said.

Capital One said it will make free credit monitoring and identity protection available to everyone affected. The company also suggested that consumers enroll in text or email alerts to help keep track of activity on their accounts. Also watch out for scammers taking advantage of this breach. Capitol One you should be mindful of phishing emails.

Here are some tips on how to spot fraudulent emails and messages.

Phishing is an attempt to acquire personal information, sometimes to compromise online banking accounts by posing as a legitimate company in an electronic communication. These emails are not from Capital One. If you believe you have received a fraudulent email that claims to be from Capital One:
  • Do not reply to the email.
  • Do not click on any of the links embedded in the email.
  • After forwarding the email to Capital One for investigation, delete it.
  • Be sure to monitor your account and call Capital One if you notice any unusual activity.


Also Capital One is not calling customers to ask for credit card or account information, or Social Security numbers on the phone or via email. If you have provided personal information over the phone or clicked on links in a fraudulent email, Capital One suggests you follow these additional steps:
  1. Call the company immediately to report that your account information may have been compromised.
  2. Sign in to Capital One Online Banking and change your password and security questions.
  3. Check your accounts for suspicious activity.
  4. Update and run anti-virus software on your computer.
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