Capital One Financial Corp. (NYSE: COF) shares fell 7% this week after the company disclosed a data breach that exposed financial information of more than 100 million Americans. The breach included 140,000 social security numbers and 80,000 bank account numbers, as well as names, addresses, phone numbers and credit scores of Capital One customers.
While Capital One and its investors are now facing the potential for major litigation costs, government regulations, punitive fines and reputational damage, customers impacted by the breach are more concerned with how they can protect their finances.
While there’s no easy fix for the data breach, WalletHub compiled five tips for Capital One customers to protect themselves in the wake of the breach:
- Enable two-factor authentication. Hackers may have gained access to personal information, but they don't have access to customers’ phones.
- Sign up for 24/7 credit monitoring. By signing up for monitoring, you will be notified as soon as someone tries to use your information to open an account.
- Consider a credit freeze. Credit alerts are helpful in identifying potential fraud, but freezing major credit reports from Equifax, Experian and TransUnion is actually a preventative measure that will prevent any unauthorized loan or line of credit in the first place.
- Suppress fraudulent credit info. Customers can dispute inaccuracies in their credit reports, but undergoing a process known as suppression or blocking makes sure any inaccuracies linked to identity theft are removed permanently.
- Beware unsolicited information requests. Unless you asked to be contacted, any calls or emails requesting personal information are potential threats, even if they appear to be from a reputable institution. The best approach to these requests is to not respond.
Capital One's stock traded around $92.40 per share at time of publication.
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