Data Breach Counter Tool: Exactly What Personal Information Has Been Exposed?

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The New York Times has come out with another neat interactive tool that provides a sobering count of both how many and what types of your personal information has been exposed to hackers. I like that they break things down as exposing your e-mail address is very different than your Social Security Number.

Half of American adults had their personal information exposed to hackers last year alone. In a recent attack at the federal Office of Personnel Management, hackers stole the most sensitive personal data for 21.5 million people.

I took the quiz and here are my results:

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All in all, I would say it could be worse. My credit and debit cards all have “zero fraud liability” and I carefully go through each statement every month. The scariest part is that the worst data breaches will probably occur where you couldn’t do anything about it. For example, the recent governmental database breach involved every single person given a government background check for the last 15 years. That hack exposed Social Security Numbers, financial histories, employment records, and fingerprints.

The advice that the NYT gives is to make sure you have different passwords for every website, and to turn on two-factor authentication whenever possible. As I’ve noted, I use 1Password and I definitely love the feature set but admit it is somewhat expensive. All my accounts now have passwords that look like “j6VQDqa$oE2zYa” and I can access them with a thumbprint on my iPhone. The website is a useful database of which sites offer two-factor authentication (2FA). There are still many financial sites that don’t support 2FA.

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  1. I recently decided to freeze all of my credit accounts at the 3 bureaus. It was a simple process. $5/per bureau per person = $30 for all bureaus for 2 people. Google it to find out how to do it. I highly recommend it. Through the process I also learned about this: You can opt out permanently for all pre-screened credit offers. The catch with the credit freeze is that it costs $5 to temporarily lift the freeze when you really need to access credit. However, given the lack of recurring fees, this is far superior to any credit monitoring service such as Lifelock.

  2. Seems like a very useful tool. It’s important to keep track of what sites have been data breached! Thanks for sharing this.

  3. Fun stuff. The IRS will willingly give anyone who’s got your SSN access to your tax records where they can get your spouses and kids SSN’s. All they have to do is register and answer static questions (multiple choice). No other verification required. Then when you find out about it, they don’t provide any means to shut it down except filling out a form that takes months to process.

    The only way to protect yourself is to register yourself before the criminals can and to freeze your credit at all three credit bureaus. Social Security will also allow registration by criminals which can lead to false benefits being paid out . Register your email there to protect yourself as well.

    My information was compromised and I have to assume it was the govt. breach, but I can’t be sure.

  4. You mentioned that your “credit and debit cards all have ‘zero fraud liability’ and I carefully go through each statement every month.” I’m curious — excluding the times when the credit card company actually calls you to see if a suspicious charge is really initiated by you (which is how I have managed to realize several times over the years that my credit card info was stolen), have you ever detected anything else when combing through your credit card statements yourself? I think the one time I’ve ever proactively called the credit card company to report a charge I didn’t recall making, it was for something tiny, like $10-15, and I don’t think I’ll ever know if it was truly fraudulent activity or if it was merely me not realizing that it was an appropriate charge by a merchant with an unhelpfully vague description for the line item that showed up on my credit card bill. (e.g. You can write almost whatever you want if you’re a Square merchant.) If you have an article on this, please feel free to just reply with the link, thanks!

    • Yes, I have gotten fraudulent charges a few times that I caught myself. One was for some sort of shoe company where they ordered a bunch of shoes. Another was for a small amount, like they didn’t want you to notice. All charges were refunded after one phone call.

  5. Does anyone else find it curious that the FBI, AT&T, CIA and NSA, who together illegally spy on literally everyone everywhere in the world don’t know who these hackers are or where they are located? Every innocent person in the world has been stripped of their privacy and the bad people assuming its not the NSA itself whose doing this are of no interest to anyone in our fine government,

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