Was your information compromised in a recent data breach? What you should know

ByNydia Han and Heather Grubola WPVI logo
Friday, June 18, 2021
Protecting your personal information from a possible data breach
Here's what you need to do to regain control of your accounts and protect your personal data from the next breach.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- News of customers' personal information possibly being compromised at CVS and Wegmans should have you thinking about how to protect your private data.

Here's what you need to do to regain control of your accounts and protect your data from the next one.

Consumer Reports' tech editor got alerts saying he'd signed up for several credit cards.

"I didn't know what was happening. I hadn't signed up for any new credit cards," said Nicholas De Leon.

He had not received a notice about a data breach, so he checked online to try to see where his personal information had been compromised.

RELATED: More than 1 billion CVS data records accidentally exposed, researcher says

"It was scary. It was stressful, and the worst part was that I was on the hook to clean up the mess," he said.

Sometimes, companies will alert you if you fall victim to a data breach. You can also look online yourself to find out what information was compromised.

The website Have I Been Pwned will tell you if it is your email address, phone number, or password.

"If your password was compromised, change it everywhere you used it," said Bree Fowler of Consumer Reports.

And a reminder: do not reuse passwords. To remember them use a password manager. CR recommends 1Password, which creates and stores complex, unique passwords for each of your accounts.

Use something called multi-factor authentication for your logins, which requires a second form of identification.

"Often, it's a code sent to your phone. But we recommend using a form that's more secure than that," said Fowler.

RELATED: White House pushes for companies to take ransomware more seriously after high-profile cyberattacks

Like the Google Authenticator app or a hardware security key, such as Yubikey.

If your social security number or financial information was part of a data breach, CR said freezing your credit is a smart option since it restricts access to your credit history.

That's exactly what De Leon did after his information was stolen.

"I plan to keep my credit frozen forever because that's the safer thing to do," he said.

One thing to keep in mind you will have to unfreeze your credit before you apply for things like a car loan, mortgage, or credit card.