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By Rick Boeth
Over the past few years, massive data breaches have become almost commonplace. Leaks put the personal information of billions of people around the world into cybercriminal hands—including email addresses, usernames, passwords, full names, birthdates, Social Security numbers, physical addresses, account numbers and even medical information.
This data can be used against you: Identity thieves can use your information to drain your bank accounts or apply for new credit cards or mortgages in your name.
Perpetrators can also assume your identity in another location to defraud you, such as using your Social Security number for employment, to get medical treatment on your health insurance or to file fraudulent tax returns.
With so much data out in the open—and the potential for it to be used fraudulently—knowing how to guard your personal information is the first line of defense. Control what you can and monitor your accounts so that any new data breaches may have less of an impact on your life and finances.
In the first half of 2019, 3,813 reported data breaches exposed 4.1 billion account records.
Risk Based Security, 2019 Midyear QuickView Data Breach Report, July 2019.
Online Security Survey, Google/Harris Poll, February 2019
FBI 2018 Internet Crime Report 2018
2019 Cost of Data Breach Study, IBM Security and Ponemon Institute LLC, June 2019; Data Breach QuickView Report Year End 2018.
Federal Trade Commission Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book 2018
Act fast. Hackers and identity thieves obtain your data before you even know it's missing.
Report Identity Theft
Federal Trade Commission
Free Annual Credit Reports
Credit Reporting Agencies
Opt Out of Pre-Approved Credit Offers
National Do Not Call Registry
Check out our Security Center to learn more about safeguarding your financial accounts.
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Anyone can be a victim of identity theft. And when it goes unnoticed, the financial damage can take years to repair.
As the number of security breaches rises, the more important it is to protect your personal information. Review our tips for online security.
October 10, 2017
Investment return and principal value of security investments will fluctuate. The value at the time of redemption may be more or less than the original cost. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.
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