Data Breaches at an All-Time High: What Should Victims Do?
INDIANAPOLIS – With data breaches at a record high, the Indiana Department of Revenue (DOR) and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) are proactively working to prevent Hoosiers’ tax information from getting into the wrong hands.
“Too many Hoosiers have joined the nearly 145 million Americans who have recently fallen victim to having their personal information stolen,” said DOR Commissioner Adam Krupp. “Every day, more and more data breaches are occurring, putting personal and financial information at risk, and we believe education is key to lowering that risk.”
During the first two quarters of 2017, the number of data breaches across the nation increased by 29 percent to a record 791 incidents, according to the Identity Theft Resource Center.
Generally, thieves want to monetize the stolen data as quickly as possible. They typically sell the data to other criminals, try to access financial accounts for withdrawals and/or file a fraudulent tax return in victims’ names for a refund. Hoosiers who have unfortunately experienced a breach should consider taking the following steps to further protect their financial accounts and identities once cybercriminals have their names and other sensitive information.
Learn what information was compromised. Were password(s) stolen or was it something more sensitive such as a Social Security number (SSN)?
- Take advantage of any credit monitoring offers made by the company that was breached.
- Use the Indiana Attorney General’s Identity Theft Victim Kit to help you restore your name.
- Take advantage of the free service to place a freeze on your credit accounts to prevent access to your credit records. At a minimum, place a fraud alert on your credit accounts by contacting one of the three major credit bureaus. A fraud alert on your credit records is not as secure as a freeze, but it’s free.
- Reset passwords on online accounts, especially financial, email and social media accounts. Some experts recommend at least 10-digit passwords mixing letters, numbers and special characters. Use different passwords for each account and use password manager to keep track of your unique passwords.
- Use two-factor authentication wherever it is offered on financial, email and social media accounts. Two-factor authentication requires entry of a username and password and then a security code, generally sent via text to a mobile phone you’ve pre-registered.
If Hoosiers experience any type of personal and/or financial data breach and are concerned about their tax information, they are encouraged to contact DOR at (317) 232-2240 to talk to an experienced customer service representative to put any concerns at ease.
SOURCE: News release from Indiana Department of Revenue