How to protect yourself during a consumer data breach

Several years ago I learned I was a victim of identity theft. Navigating my way through reporting the crime and learning to protect myself was challenging. It wasn’t long into the process I started using LifeLock for personal identity protection. Although I thought I was completely educated about identity theft and knew ways to protect myself, we simply can’t control the behaviors of others. By using LifeLock I am confident I am protected and will be notified anytime my personal information is used. Unfortunately that doesn’t prevent my information from being compromised. With the recent consumer data breaches at the hands of retailers experiencing security breaches, I’m revisiting my tools to make sure I’m following all the tips to protect myself. As part of a sponsored campaign by Find Your Influence and LifeLock, I’m sharing how you can help protect yourself if you’ve been included in a consumer data breach.


While I’ve heard about quite a few security breaches lately, the most recent Home Depot data breach is concerning. Potentially any customers shopping in Canada or Mexico and online could be affected. 

What is a consumer data breach?

A consumer data breach is when security systems with personal information including your social security number, credit card number or health information, is exposed or compromised and accessed by an unauthorized person. If a retailer where you have shopped experiences a security breach you are at risk. According to LifeLock,  individuals who receive a data breach notification letter are more than four times as likely to become victims of identity theft. In 2012 I was one of 12.6 million reported cases of identity theft. I don’t like the odds of being victimized again with the latest consumer data breaches.


Can you do anything to prevent being included in  a consumer data breach? Aside from not using a debit or credit card anywhere, no. Your personal information is at risk simply because you are a consumer.


It’s unrealistic to say you will never use a debit or credit card. It’s also unrealistic to live in fear of your personal information being compromised each time you do.

What should you do if you were included in a consumer data breach?

According to LifeLock, there is a short list of steps to follow if you received a data breach letter or know you shopped at a retailer involved in a security breach.

1. Monitor transactions.

Keep a close eye on your debit and credit card activity to make sure you authorized all charges.

2. Report suspicious transactions immediately.

Be sure to report any unauthorized activity on your debit or credit card to the bank. Advise them you may have been included in a consumer data breach.

3. Order a new debit and/or credit card.

Advise your bank you may have been included in a consumer data breach and cancel your cards. 

4. Follow the data breach story.

Sometimes you can learn more about your potential level of risk by following the story on the news and retailer website.

5. Consider using an identity protection service.

By using an identity protection service like LifeLock you can receive alerts and notifications anytime your personal information has been used. 


As I mentioned in my post about gaining back my sense of personal security,

There is no way to fully know the extent to which my personal information has been compromised but by using LifeLock, I will receive immediate alerts each time my social security number is detected on an application for credit. The service uses 5 points of protection 24 hours a day. Using LifeLock has helped me gain back my sense of personal security while knowing someone is out there pretending to be me.

The LifeLock Ultimate credit monitoring service alerts you each time your personal information has been used including to open new accounts. You are also notified if your  information appears in criminal searches, payday loan applications, and used for address changes.

The new LifeLock Ultimate Plus program offers several new activity alerts that addpeace of mind against identity fraud in a digitally connected world. While you can’t prevent identity theft, you can certainly do something to help protect yourself. Shop with confidence knowing LifeLock will help protect you if you’re involved in a consumer data breach.

Use “BreachWatch” to receive 10% off your LifeLock membership!


Visit LifeLock to enroll today and stop worrying about all the newest consumer data breaches!

Have you been personally affected by identity theft too? Learn more about the ultimate credit protection on the LifeLock website  and  by connecting with LifeLock on Facebook and Twitter

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