This has been a very busy and lucrative time for hackers stealing personal information from financial institutions, medical institutions, and retailers. This week JP Morgan Chase has confirmed more than 76 million households and 7 million businesses have been impacted by a breach that began in June and was not detected until late July. That equates to 65% of all US households (current and past clients) whose names, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses are now in the hands of thieves. Yahoo.com reported last month that Russian hackers had stolen and released to the public almost five million Gmail addresses with passwords. The ever growing list of targets includes Home Depot, Target, Ebay, Jimmy John’s, Healthcare.gov, Goodwill, LinkedIn and more.
Keep in mind that hackers will use various phishing schemes to get missing information to complete their theft of your identity and commit fraud. Be careful of your personal information – be especially wary of giving out your social security number. Be vigilant about securing paper copies of personal and financial information and shred when you no longer need them. We recommend changing your password immediately if you have a Chase or Gmail account. If you use the same password or a variation of that password for multiple sites, you should change your passwords to more encrypted codes. I have previously written about my favorite password manager, LastPass. Whether you use this app, another app, or no app at all for passwords, you must have strong, secure passwords.