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How to Protect Your Finances and Clean up The Mess Left by a Data Breach

A data breach can happen anytime and in this digital age where much of our personal information is exposed, it makes our credit reports and finances vulnerable to theft. Breaches can happen anytime as is the latest Equifax blunder which left as many as 143 million people affected. But this does not mean that there is nothing you can do about it to protect yourself from becoming a victim of identity theft that will ultimately compromise your credit rating and report. In the UK, financial fraud losses in the first 6 months of 2016 shot to £399.5 million or a 25% increase according to the (2016) UK Cards Association Annual Report. These were caused mainly by online attacks and scams.

Take Extra Steps to Confirm Your Identity

It is very important to stay vigilant especially after a data breach has occurred. Sure, it will probably be hard to take back information that has been circulated and already shared, but if you do nothing then it will be even harder for you to get your finances and credit history in order. Even if there are many financial institutions such as Moneybanker.fi that can lend you money, without a credible credit rating, you will not get much in way of loans or funds for your personal or business venture.

One of the ways to protect yourself is to set up a fraud alert by informing credit bureaus such as CallCredit, Experian or Equifax who will take extra steps to confirm your identity. This goes as well when paying with credit cards and other payment options to add another security layer. The security systems of banks appear to prevent the majority of frauds, but it is not prudent to rely on them alone.

Check Your Financial Statements and Credit Reports Regularly

Frauds and scams are not likely to disappear anytime soon. However, if you detect them early enough, you can take steps to protect yourself and your credit. In this regard, make sure to get your credit reports from the bureaus at regular intervals.  This will enable you to see if something is amiss. You can also check your bank statements more frequently and see if there are unauthorized purchases or something similar.

Sign Up to a Fraud Prevention Service

Including your name in the database of the Credit Industry Fraud Avoidance System (CIFAS), the UK’s independent fraud watchdog won’t freeze your credit line. You can avail of Protective Registration where for a fee, your name and personal details are flagged in the National Fraud Database. If you are applying for a loan or a financial product, this may take longer because of the vetting process, but you will be sure that companies signed up in the database will perform extra precautions to ensure you are protected. They will even get in touch with you to make sure that it is you and not anyone else who is securing a loan or credit.

Being ready and prepared all the time not only prevents big financial losses that can even ruin you but also protect your credit history. If you are aware of the prevalent threats and risks, there is no reason why you cannot avoid being a victim of a data breach, scams or fraud.

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