7 Things to Do Right Away If You're a Victim of a Data Breach

In today's digital age, data breaches have become all too common and leave unsuspecting consumers vulnerable to a host of identity theft issues.

Digital Binary Code on Dark Red BG. Data Breach Concept
(Image credit: Getty Images)

In today's digital age, data breaches have become all too common and leave unsuspecting consumers vulnerable to a host of identity theft issues. From Capital One to Facebook to Quest Diagnostics, no industry seems to be safe from determined hackers. Last year alone, 15.1 billion records were exposed in reported data breaches, according to RiskBasedSecurity.com (opens in new tab), a Richmond, Va.-based cybersecurity risk management firm.

If you've been notified by your credit card company, a retailer you visit often or another trusted source that your sensitive information has been compromised, you'll need to act fast. Taking action within the first 48 hours is the difference between stopping identity thieves dead in their tracks or having them wreak havoc on your financial life for months to come, suggests Carrie Kerskie, president of Griffon Force (opens in new tab), a Naples, Fla.-based company that helps identity fraud victims recover.

We've combed through our archive of tried-and-true advice, spoken with industry experts, and reviewed the Federal Trade Commission's consumer tips to find out what steps you should take immediately after discovering you're a data breach victim. Here's where to start.

Andrea Browne Taylor
Online Editor, Kiplinger.com
Browne Taylor joined Kiplinger in 2011 and is a channel editor for Kiplinger.com covering living and family finance topics. She previously worked at the Washington Post as a Web producer in the Style section and prior to that covered the Jobs, Cars and Real Estate sections. She earned a BA in journalism from Howard University in Washington, D.C.