Flagstar Bank data breach exposes millions of social security numbers

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Things like your social media accounts are valuable to cybercriminals. Some are even more sought after than bank details. Tap or click here to find out the value of your stolen credit card on the Dark Web. But the last thing you want to hear is that your bank account or social security number has been hacked.

Unfortunately, this recently happened to millions of people’s bank customers in the United States. The bank suffered a data breach late last year but only informed customers this month that hackers had stolen the personal data of more than 1.5 million users. This included social security numbers.

Read on to find out how it happened and what you can do about it.

Here is the backstory

Flagstar Bank is one of the largest mortgage lenders in the country and has over 150 branches. According to the data breach notification sent to the Maine Attorney General’s office, the hack took place in early December 2021.

It reveals that Flagstar Bank only discovered the breach on June 2, 2022. More than 1.5 million people were affected, including 1,028 Maine residents. In addition, it took the bank two weeks to conclude an investigation before sending notices to affected customers.

The client’s letter explained the breach and what the bank had done to mitigate any risk. “After a thorough forensic investigation and manual document review, we have discovered that certain affected files containing your personal information were accessed or acquired from our network in between.”

The bank stressed that there is “no evidence” that hackers are misusing the data, but “out of an abundance of caution” will offer two years of free identity monitoring through Kroll.

What can you do about it

Credit and identity monitoring is a great option, but when hackers expose your social security number and name, you need to take some action yourself. Even if the hack happened more than six months ago, you might want to freeze your credit.

It won’t affect your credit score and it will make it harder for scammers and criminals to open new credit accounts in your name. Here’s how you manage your credit with the three biggest credit bureaus:

The easiest way to do this through Experian is to visit the Security Freeze web page. From there, log in to your account and fill in the details. It is relatively easy to create an account before continuing. You also have the option of calling 1-888-EXPERIAN (1-888-397-3742) or you can submit your request in writing. A security freeze will remain on your credit report until you remove it.

Equifax has a similar process to Experian because you can easily do it online. Go to the Equifax Security Freeze page, log in (or create an account) and follow the steps. If you need help, you can also call them at 1-866-478-0027. You can also place a one-year fraud alert on your credit report for free.

Go to TransUnion Credit Freeze and click Add gel. You will be prompted to create an account or log in. Fill in your details and TransUnion will take care of the rest. If you have any questions, you can call them at 1-888-909-8872.

keep reading

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