5 Tips for Dealing with the Capital One Breach
If you applied for a Capital One credit card any time from 2005 to early 2019 your data was breached by a former Amazon software engineer named Paige. Of the potential 100 million victims, I am one of them.
I was taught by my father that credit cards are a scam that should be avoided at all costs. Anything you can’t pay for cash, you can’t afford, he’d always say. It took me over 30 years and the shame of bad credit to learn the principle of his admonishment had merit but wasn’t entirely feasible or accurate.
Being a credit ghost will get you nowhere and late or deferred student loan payments will bury you. My score was pretty dinged up by the time I began to take it seriously a few years ago. A Capital One credit card was suggested to me—one in particular that reports into Equifax and Transunion most often confirming steady payments and helping build better credit faster.
I’ve been satisfied with the result and I’m proud of myself for facing my mistakes, learning from them and participating in the system responsibly, despite my minimal fiscal education. If only Capital One could get on my level and protect my data from fraud. I mean, really, Paige from Amazon? Not cool. I’m really trying here.
And check out these five suggestions by WalletHub CEO Odysseas Papadimitriou, formerly a senior director at Capital One. Who better to give us the scoop?
- Sign up for 24/7 credit monitoring – This way, you’ll find out immediately if someone tries to open an account in your name. WalletHub, for example, offers free 24/7 monitoring of your TransUnion credit report.
- Enable Two-Factor Authentication – Capital One was hacked, but your cell phone wasn’t. So use it as another layer of protection when logging into your email account and financial websites.
- A Freeze Is Better Than an Alert – It probably isn’t necessary in this case, but if you really want to protect yourself from fraudulent borrowing, freeze your three major credit reports (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion). This will prevent anyone but you from accessing them, thus making it impossible to take out a loan or line of credit. A fraud alert, in contrast, doesn’t actually do much.
- Suppress Fraudulent Info – While you can dispute run-of-the-mill credit report inaccuracies, it’s best to use a process called “suppression” / “blocking” to get rid of negative info resulting from identity theft. In short, this makes it so the records in question can’t make a reappearance after they’re initially removed.
- Never Respond to Unsolicited Requests for Information – Don’t be surprised if you see an uptick in unsolicited calls and emails requesting personal information. Just remember: Never answer if you didn’t ask to be contacted.