Xfinity, the cable division of telecommunications giant Comcast Corporation, recently disclosed that 36 million of its users' personal information was exposed in a data breach. In a December 2023 notice to its customers, the company revealed that customer user names, hashed passwords, security answers, and the last four digits of Social Security numbers were exposed.
According to the news and media website The Hill, "not only is this breach an example of a dangerous and growing trend among hackers, but it has made millions of Americans very vulnerable." What makes this case a significant threat to consumers is 1) the sheer number of customers impacted, and 2) the hackers access to the last four digits of people's Social Security numbers is very problematic, as hackers can easily figure out the first five digits themselves as they relate to where you live and where your payment card was issued. That can lead to numerous types of fraud —from opening bank accounts in your name to stealing your tax refund or even posing as you during police interactions.
What should you do if you receive a data breach notification letter, from Xfinity or another? You'll most likely have many questions. Consider the points below from security company eFraud, for understanding your letter, what kind of data breach you've been compromised by, and what to do now to protect yourself.
Review the letter: Carefully read and understand the contents of the letter provided by the company regarding the consumer breach. Pay attention to any specific instructions or actions recommended by the company.
Take immediate action: If the letter advises you to take any immediate action, such as changing passwords or monitoring your accounts, follow those instructions promptly. This will help mitigate any potential risks or further unauthorized access.
Contact the company: If the letter does not provide sufficient information or if you have any questions or concerns, reach out to the company directly. Contact their customer support or the designated point of contact mentioned in the letter to seek clarification and guidance.
Monitor your accounts: Keep a close eye on your financial accounts, credit reports, and any other sensitive information that may have been compromised. Look for any suspicious activities, unauthorized transactions, or signs of identity theft. If you notice anything unusual, report it to the company and relevant authorities immediately.
Consider credit monitoring services: Depending on the severity of the breach and the information exposed, you may want to consider enrolling in credit monitoring services. These services can help detect any fraudulent activities related to your personal information and provide alerts if any suspicious activities occur.
Update your security measures: Review and enhance your personal security measures. Change passwords for all your online accounts, especially if you have used the same password across multiple platforms. Enable two-factor authentication whenever possible to add an extra layer of security.
Stay informed: Stay updated on the latest developments regarding the breach by following official announcements from the company. They may provide additional information, guidance, or support for affected consumers.
Remember, the specific actions to take may vary depending on the nature and extent of the breach. It is crucial to follow the instructions provided by the company and consult with relevant authorities or legal professionals if needed.