As a student, it can be distressing to learn that your personal information has been stolen or compromised. Data breaches are becoming more frequent, and anyone can be a victim. However, there are things you can do to protect yourself and minimize the damage caused by a data breach. In this article, we will outline some practical steps you can take if you find yourself in this situation.
Change Your Passwords
One of the first things you should do if your personal information has been compromised is to change your passwords. Many people use personal details in their passwords, such as birthdates or maiden names, making it easier for hackers to get access to your accounts. When setting a new password, it's essential not to use personal information. You should also make sure to use a strong password that includes a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols.
Activate Two-Factor Authentication
Two-factor authentication provides an extra layer of security when accessing your accounts. By enabling this feature, you will receive a code via email or text message that you must enter along with your password to access your account. This makes it more challenging for hackers to access your accounts, even if they have your password.
Keep an Eye on Your Credit Score
If your identity is stolen, people are likely to use it to do a variety of things, including spending money you don't have and ruining your credit score. If you notice a sudden drop in your credit score, it could be a sign of fraudulent activity under your name. You can check your credit score online for free using services such as Canstar. If you notice any suspicious activity, you should speak with the police and your bank.
Treat Emails with Caution
If you receive an email from the organization or company that has been breached, treat it with caution. Do not click on any links in the email, as these may be phishing scams designed to steal your personal information. Instead, read the email as it may contain details on what documentation was accessed.
Get a New License/Proof of Age/Passport Number
If you had documents stolen, such as a driver's license, passport or proof of age card, it's important to get these replaced as soon as possible. TAFE has offered to cover the cost for students who have had their data breached through them, for replacement passports and drivers licenses. While the majority of the documents taken were expired, things such as driver's license numbers do not change, and these can be used for identity theft.
In conclusion, if you have been the victim of a data breach, it's essential to act quickly to protect your personal information. Changing your passwords, enabling two-factor authentication, keeping an eye on your credit score, treating emails with caution and getting any stolen documents replaced are all practical steps you can take to minimize the damage caused by a data breach. While it's impossible to prevent all data breaches, taking these steps can help protect you from identity theft and other fraudulent activities.