There was a time when the idea of banking online seemed daunting. This was primarily due to the fear of a criminal accessing your financial information. While most consumers are more comfortable with shopping and banking online, there’s still risk involved. There was recently a Capital One data breach that has the potential to affect over 100 million people.

The breach occurred when a software engineer that once worked for Amazon Web Services hacked into a server at Capital One. Based on findings by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG), this is the biggest bank hack that has ever occurred. However, it’s believed that Capital One isn’t the only financial institution involved, although they are the only one to report a breach.

 

How a Breach Affects Companies

Companies that experience a breach that leaves the personal data of their customers exposed will often end up paying hefty fines and penalties. Although the details of the Capital One breach are still being sorted out, there is a history of multimillion-dollar settlements. For instance, Equifax recently agreed to pay up to $700 million in response to the security breach that exposed the personal information of nearly 150 million people back in 2017.

How a Breach Impacts Consumers

When a stranger has access to this type of information, there’s an increased chance of identity theft, which increases the likelihood of fraud. If a Capital One customer becomes the victim of identity theft, there’s a good chance that a zero liability policy will apply. That means any money stolen will be replaced at no charge. However, it could take time to correct credit report issues that result from fraudulent activity. The good news is that you can have a fraud alert placed on your credit report by contacting the three primary bureaus, which are Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian.

In addition to a fraud alert, you should immediately have your credit cards frozen. You can also sign up for services that will monitor your credit report for future suspicious activities. Since fraud can occur months later, you’ll need to remain proactive and continually review your credit report for at least a full year after the breach.