You may have heard that eBay, the popular online auction site, was recently hacked, apparently leaking non-financial user account information like names, passwords, email addresses, phone numbers, physical addresses and dates of birth. The breach comes not too long after the recent Target hacking incident, in which 70 million shopper records had been leaked and some 40 million credit and debit cards had been compromised. The amount of users potentially affected by the eBay breach could be as many as 145 million.
In the face of such a database attack, what can eBay users do to protect themselves against potential identity theft? The Federal Trade Commission recently released 5 strong tips to keep you safe:
- Change your eBay password, and do so quickly. While your information may never be accessed, it’s always better to be safe rather than sorry!
- If your password or ID has been used on other sites (like Facebook, Online Banking, etc.), be sure to change those accounts and passwords as well.
- Never change your information through emails. In situations like this, scammers can use your email address to send false messages that look like they come from reliable sources you trust. Reputable businesses and websites will not ask for information like passwords, credit card details or identification numbers through unsecure channels! Always go directly to the site to change your personal information.
- Always keep an eye on your credit card and bank account statements. While this may seem common sense to many, if you aren’t in the habit of regularly reviewing your purchases, you’re leaving yourself vulnerable to theft. Oftentimes, thieves will buy small things first to see if the credit or debit card holder notices before they make large, impactful purchases.
- Check your credit reports every few months. This allows you to keep an eye on every bill that’s held under your name, and gives you the opportunity to contest something that you don’t recognize. You can get your report for free from AnnualCreditReport.com or you can stop by your nearest FCU branch for a free Credit Report Analysis.
The best way to keep yourself safe is to always use a different, elaborate password for each website you frequent. This can be tedious, but ultimately, it protects you in a scenario where your information has been leaked to criminals. Plus, you can always use a password manager that will help you keep each password straight!
What do you do to protect your information online? Let us know in the comments!
Like this article? Check out this other Tech Savvy article: “How to Make the Best Passwords for Online Protection”