What the Capital One hack could mean for you

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Hanna Horvath, CFP®

Hanna Horvath, CFP®

CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ & former Managing Editor, Growth

Hanna Horvath is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and former managing editor for growth at Policygenius. She helped produce the Easy Money newsletter. She passed her exam to become a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ in November 2020.

Hanna's work has appeared in NBC News, Business Insider and Inc. Magazine. She is regularly quoted in top media outlets, including CNBC, Best Company and HerMoney. She has also appeared on the Money Moolala podcast and All's Fair podcast.

Prior to Policygenius, Hanna wrote for KNBC in Los Angeles and WNBC in New York. When she isn't writing, she's (often) running, (usually) cooking and (sometimes) doing photography.

Published August 1, 2019|1 min read

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Another day, another breach.

A hacker has exposed the personal information of more than 100 million Capital One users, the bank reported on Monday.

“I am deeply sorry for what has happened," said Richard D. Fairbank, CEO of Capital One, in a statement. "I sincerely apologize for the understandable worry this incident must be causing those affected and I am committed to making it right."

The breach affected approximately 100 million people in America and 6 million in Canada, including individuals who have Capital One credit cards and those who have applied for a credit card.

The hacker obtained personal data including credit scores, credit limits, balances, payment history and contact information. Some users had their Social Security and bank account numbers exposed.

“It’s a real problem that Capital One doesn’t have the security that one hacker could somehow break into their system,” said Ira Rheingold, executive director of the National Association of Consumer Advocates.

The FBI arrested a suspect Monday and charged them with computer fraud and abuse. Capital One said it plans to contact all affected individuals and offer free credit monitoring and identity protection.

If you think your information has been exposed, we have a crib sheet for dealing with it.

How to keep your information secure

This breach comes on the heels on last week’s Equifax settlement, which offered cash and free credit monitoring to the 147 million people whose personal information was exposed in a 2017 data breach.

While you can’t un-expose your personal information, there are some simple ways to protect yourself for the future.

  • Add two-factor authentication to all accounts, including bank, email and social media accounts. With this form of authentication, you’ll need a second device to confirm the login.

  • Strengthen your passwords. No, “password” doesn’t count.

  • File taxes early. This prevents identity thieves from claiming your tax refund.

  • Monitor your accounts for fraudulent activity. If you spot something odd, contact your bank immediately.

Affected by the Equifax hack? Here’s how to cash in on the settlement.

Image: Hugo Barbosa