Friday, September 21, 2007

Breach Alert: Ameritrade 6.3 million customers compromised

Another day, another data breach - or so it seems. As part of Security Mike's role to educate the broader consumer audience on how to protect your identity, I'll refer to these data breaches and use the opportunity to reinforce many of the key messages in Security Mike's Guide.

If you want more details, check out Ed Dickson's post on the Ameritrade breach. Ed does a good job covering lots of identity related topics, so I'd recommend you reading his blog as well.

Let's break up the discussion into two main thoughts:

  1. You are an Ameritrade customer - If you are one of the lucky 6.3 million, then I suggest you get on the horn with them ASAP and find out what they are doing to protect your identity. Are they issuing new account numbers? Are they going to pay for a credit monitoring service? Poke them in the eye a bit (they did lose your information, after all) and see what you can get. Also make sure you get more aggressive about your fraud alert and monitoring your accounts.

  2. You are not an Ameritrade customer - Rejoice. It wasn't you this time. But soon enough it probably will be. No one is lucky indefinitely. Not even Security Mike. Take this time to revisit your identity protection measures and ensure they are up to snuff.
This brings up a pretty important point: In many cases, Identity Theft is NOT your fault. Ameritrade's customers had no involvement in this issue. Besides having the good fortune to have an account with them. So it's not enough to just take care of your own stuff, you need to also be ready to respond when your information is compromised.

An even sorrier state of affairs is that this breach probably happened years ago. Which is why CONSTANT VIGILANCE is critical when protecting your identity.

If you don't know where to start, do yourself a favor and get Security Mike's Special Report: 6 Easy Steps to Protect Your Identity. It's only available on Security Mike's Web Site.

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