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If you think your financial information in stolen, don’t panic. Do these 5 things instead

Things to do if your financial information is stolen

With the internet taking over every aspect of your life, the possibility of online data theft is growing each day. This is especially concerning when your banking and financial information is at risk. Data theft is not restricted to just individuals; it can strike entities as well. In fact, India witnessed one of its biggest data breaches last year when data from about 6000 Indian enterprises was leaked.It shows that no matter how carefully you store and use your data, there is a possibility of it leaking.

So, what do you do if someone gets hold of your financial information? Follow these steps immediately to tackle the problem efficiently.

 

1. File a police complaint

The first step you must take if your financial details are stolen is to lodge an FIR at the nearest police station or cybersecurity cell. The FIR will act as documented proof that your financial information has been compromised. This can help you avoid any legal trouble the theft might cause.

 

2. Contact Credit reporting agencies

You must also contact any of the major credit reporting agencies such as Experian, Transunion, etc. and ask them to generate a fraud alert on your credit report. This will stop data thieves from opening an account in your name. The agency will also forward this information to other agencies.

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3. Freeze your credit report

Freezing your credit report is the next step you must take as it can avert data thieves from gaining unauthorised access to your credit information. Once you place a fraud alert on your credit report, you are entitled to a free copy of your report from all credit reporting agencies. Review each of these reports and notify the agencies of any fraudulent or suspicious activity. You should also contact any financial institutions or credit card companies with which you have accounts.

4. Close your bank account and net banking

Call your bank and freeze your account. You can alternatively ask them to disable net banking transactions until you change your password. Later, you can open new account numbers. 

Related: Credit card fraud is real [Infographic]

5. Change all your passwords

As soon as possible, change all the passwords to your financial accounts and numbers. At the same time, check all your accounts occasionally to ensure no one has withdrawn money or made any transfer. Regularly checking credit reports and financial accounts will if hackers or data thieves have taken a new loan in your name. You can do these checks through

  • Monthly statements
  • Banking or financial mobile apps that allow a quick glance anytime
  • Add the push notification feature to your credit cards, so you are informed immediately, in case money goes out of your account.

Related: Government makes linking Aadhaar number mandatory with several investments

  1. Sign-up for free credit monitoring

Some companies even offer complimentary credit monitoring system to their consumers, a feature that you must activate in case your details have been stolen. Websites such as Credit Karma and Credit Sesame can provide alerts if they find changes in your credit report, making it easier for you to track and take action on the matter immediately.

Related: What are the new Aadhaar features- virtual ID and limited KYC and how do they work?

Taking these steps as soon as you face a data leak can prevent any unnecessary problems that may arise later and will save you from financial damage. Having said that, it is critical that you keep all your financial data safely and avoid sharing it with unauthorised individuals and entities.

 

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