Seven Tips to Avoid Being Victimized by a Data Breach

Phone-Magnifying-GlassAt the time of this writing, one hacker claims to have stolen information from three healthcare databases totaling up to around 655,000 patient records.  The information includes full names, Social Security numbers, dates of birth, mailing addresses, email addresses, phone numbers, race, gender and insurance account info.

All of this information is now for sale on the dark web, where identity thieves can buy it cheap and cause havoc in a victim’s life.  Identity thieves can open bank accounts, apply for credit cards, file fraudulent tax returns and more.

Because there is so much useful and valuable information contained in healthcare data, hackers are hitting healthcare facilities with increasing frequency.  Even some of the largest health insurance companies have been victimized over the past few years.

If your data is stolen, what can you do to minimize victimization?  Here are seven tips.

  • If you receive an email or text asking for sensitive personal information, do not respond and delete it immediately.
  • If you receive a call from a business or organization that you didn’t contact first and they ask for sensitive personal information, do not give it to them.
  • If you’re at all suspicious, tell the caller you will call them back.  After you hang up, look up that company’s phone number and compare it to the number given by the caller.  And don’t automatically assume an 800 number is legit.
  • Hang up on robo calls and don’t press any numbers if prompted.
  • Keep in mind that caller ID can be masked, so you can’t rely on it to tell you who is a scammer and who isn’t.
  • Don’t assume an email is legit because it looks nice and has a company logo on it.  It’s not at all difficult to copy a company’s logo and mask the sender’s address.
  • Guard your personal data.  If a phone call, text or email asks for sensitive personal information, think very hard about what the person requesting the information is asking and why they would be asking it.  If you’re not comfortable, don’t give out your info.
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