The data breach monitoring service https://haveibeenpwned.com/ which is a terrific website that enables you to see what major data breaches include your own personal information is reporting that a major data breach at Evite, a convenient social planning website for sending and managing online event invitations, was much more serious than originally thought.  Last May, Evite disclosed that it had been hacked by a data breach that began in February of 2019 in which personal data of its users was stolen.  Now it has been determined that the data breach went all the way back to 2013 and that the number of people affected by the data breach is approximately 101 million people, which is ten times more than originally thought.  The good news is that no Social Security numbers or financial information was compromised, however, the data stolen did include names, phone numbers, addresses, dates of birth genders and passwords.  Due to the fact that so many people use the same password for all of their accounts, the danger of Evite users other accounts, such as online banking being in danger of being hacked is high.  In addition, the particular information stolen, which is presently being sold on the Dark Web, that part of the Internet where criminals buy and sell goods and services, increases the risk of that information being used to craft persuasive spear phishing emails that can be used to perpetrate a variety of scams and identity theft schemes.

TIPS

So what can you do to protect yourself?

If you have not yet frozen your credit with each of the three major credit reporting agencies, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, you should do so now to protect yourself from possible identity theft.

To get the maximum protection from identity theft, it is important to freeze your credit at each of the three major credit reporting agencies. Here are links to each of them with instructions about how to get a credit freeze:
https://www.freeze.equifax.com/Freeze/jsp/SFF_PersonalIDInfo.jsp
https://www.transunion.com/credit-freeze/place-credit-freeze
https://www.experian.com/freeze/center.html

One of the biggest lessons from the myriad of data breaches is to make sure that you use unique passwords for every online account that you have in order to avoid having a sensitive account, such as your online banking account compromised because you use the same password as you do for another relatively meaningless account that had poor security which led to a data breach in which your password was stolen.

Creating and remembering strong, unique passwords for each of your accounts is not as difficult as it may appear.  You can start with a strong base password constructed from a phrase, such as IDon’tLikePasswords. Add a few symbols like !!! and then adapt it for each account you have so that you will have a secure and easy to remember password for each of your online accounts.   Thus, your Amazon password could be IDon’tLikePasswords!!!AMA.

Also, with your email address commonly known by many scammers, you can expect to receive more phishing and more dangerous specifically targeted spear phishing emails that attempt to lure you into clicking on links containing malware or try to convince you to provide personal information that can be used to make you a victim of identity theft.  Never click on links or provide personal information in response to an email or text message unless you are absolutely sure that the email or text message is legitimate.  The danger of information taken from the data breach at Evite being used for spear phishing emails is particularly high so if you were a customer of theirs, you should be skeptical of any communication you receive purportedly from them.

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