A breach to one of Experian's servers - discovered on Sept. 15 - has resulted in 15 million compromised records with personal information like names and Social Security numbers. The breach included information about T-Mobile customers from as far back as 2013. Here are the details and action steps you can take if you think you’re a victim.
The server that was attacked housed records of those who applied for T-Mobile's services between Sept. 1, 2013, and Sept. 16, 2015. Overall, the compromised information included…
- Dates of birth
- Driver's license numbers
- Social Security numbers
- Passport IDs
The affected server was not part of Experian's consumer credit bureau; nevertheless, a data breach is good reason to check your defenses when it comes protecting your personal information, and there are plenty of ways you can protect yourself.
Make sure hackers didn't steal your information and use it for their advantage. Annually check your credit reports and bank statements for suspicious activity, like a new line of credit or purchases you didn't make.
Be cautious! When a breach like this occurs, fraudsters may call the victims and say they're from the affected companies. They may ask you for your personal information, so they can "help" you. Keep in mind that T-Mobile and Experian made it clear that they will not send a message or call and ask for personal information connected with the incident.
Consider some of the major data breaches we've had in the past couple years:
- JP Morgan Chase - 76 million customer records
- Anthem - 87.6 million
- Home Depot - 56 million
- Target - 110 million
Whether or not you think you're a victim, employing an identity theft protection plan is relevant and important.
Ironically, T-Mobile is offering resolution services through Experian's ProtectMyID, for those who were affected by the data breach; however, full, continuing coverage demands an identity protection service that has more robust features than those provided through the complimentary membership.
ProtectMyID's complimentary membership includes SSN and credit-card monitoring, but you also need monitoring for high-risk transactions and data sweeps. ProtectMyID includes credit monitoring and an Experian credit report upon entry, but you also need your credit score and identity risk score (showing how vulnerable you are to identity theft). ProtectMyID has lost wallet/purse assistance and alerts for suspicious activity, which is good. It is backed by $1 million identity theft insurance coverage, too, but you also need coverage that will reimburse you for the expenses you incur while returning your life to normal. ProtectMyID has fraud resolution agents who can offer assistance to victims, but you also need a financial consultation, a legal consultation and more.
You need stronger layers of protection against identity theft, help creating an action plan and professional assistance with addressing compromised information and accounts.
The Experian data breach is a big reminder of how a robust identity theft protection plan is absolutely necessary.