Last summer I reported to you about a data breach at T-Mobile in which personal information of 54.6 million customers, former customers and prospective customers was stolen. The compromised information includes names, phone numbers, Social Security numbers and addresses. This type of information poses a tremendous threat to victims of the data breach, which is the sixth for T-Mobile in the last four years. Social Security numbers in particular can be used by identity thieves to apply for credit cards and loans in your name. In addition, the phone numbers and the fact that the victims of the data breach are known to be T-Mobile customers can be expected to be used by scammers to create phony phishing text messages, called smishing, posing as T-Mobile and luring the targeted victim into clicking on a link in the text message that can download destructive malware.
Now New York Attorney General Letitia James has issued a new warning to victims of the data breach that they are of heightened risk of identity theft because some of the stolen information was recently found to be offered for sale by the hackers to other criminals on the Dark Web, that part of the Internet where criminals buy and sell goods and services so victims of the data breach should be particularly alert to the possibility of identity theft.
So what do you do if you are a T-Mobile customer who may be affected by this latest data breach. Perhaps the first thing you should do is something you should have already done, but as the Chinese proverb says, “the best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago, the second best time is now.” Freeze your credit at each of the three major credit reporting bureaus.
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