How to Protect Yourself After the Capital One Data Breach

I am one of those Capital One customers that was affected by the data breach. I first heard about it through the news and I was shocked!

Capital One claims that there was ‘unauthorized access by an outside individual who obtained certain types of personal information relating to people who had applied for our credit card products, and to Capital One credit card customers.” The unauthorized individual has accessed data including:

  • Social Insurance Numbers of approximately 1 million Canadian credit card customers
  • Customer status data, e.g., credit scores, credit limits, balances, payment history, and contact information
  • Fragments of transaction data from a total of 23 days during 2016, 2017 and 2018

These are 3 things you can do to protect yourself after the data breach:

  1. Activate Purchase Alerts

You should activate real-time purchase alerts to protect yourself from fraudulent charges if your credit card or debit allows it. You will get a notification on your phone if there were any charges, even if you made them. This will also alert you if there were any fraudulent charges. If someone hacked into your account, you will get notified and call your credit card company immediately. DO NOT wait many weeks or months to deal with fraudulent charges because your credit card company will give you a hard time, trust me.

2. Take advantage of free credit monitoring and score reports

I actually check my credit score every two weeks or at least every month when I get notified. In Canada, there are 2 agencies that provide your credit report, Equifax and TransUnion. For some reason, the scores are not identical and sometimes they’re off by a few points. Which doesn’t make a big difference overall if your credit is in the same range (e.g Fair, Good, etc).

I actually use Credit Karma, which uses TransUnion. Credit Karma will update your score EVERY WEEK, and you can see what the credit score companies are rating including your:

  • Accounts – any credit card accounts including those open and closed.
  • Installment loans including student loans.
  • Open loans – includes cell phone bill.
  • Collections – if you have fallen behind on payments, it will be sent to collections.
  • Bank Accounts – if your bank account was closed or if you have a record for bad cheques or insufficient funds.
  • Public Records – include any bankruptcies or legal judgments
  • Credit Inquiries – including if you applied for a new credit card or any hard credit inquiry.
  • Personal Info – your name, employment info, addresses.

3. Freeze your account

If you have multiple cards and can afford to not use one. I would recommend freezing your credit card in these situations. IT will be helpful to prevent others from having access to your reports without your consent and hackers from successfully applying for credit in your name.