BOISE — In one of the biggest data breaches ever, a Seattle woman gained access to more than 100-million Capital One accounts and applications. The Department of Justice accuses Paige Thompson of breaking into a Capital One server and gaining access to 140,000 Social Security numbers, one million Canadian Social Insurance numbers and 80,000 bank account numbers.

Capital One reports the hack occurred in March, and the company says it has fixed the vulnerability in its system. Capital One stated that it is, “unlikely that the information was used for fraud or disseminated by this individual.” The company is still investigating.

Capital One added that the breach affected around 100 million people in the United States and about six million people in Canada. However, “no credit card account number or log-in credentials were compromised, and over 99 percent of Social Security numbers were not compromised,” the company said in a statement.

Better Business Bureau serving the Northwest and Pacific reminds consumers that they are not liable for fraudulent charges on stolen credit cards. Consumers are urged to take the following protective steps:

  • Contact Capital One — Check its website for the latest information. Type the name directly into the browser. Do not click on a link from an email or social media message.
  • Activate a credit freeze or fraud alert — If a card or account has been compromised, consider placing a fraud alert on the account and contact one of the three major credit reporting agencies. To find out how, go to go.bbb.org/creditfreeze. This will prevent anyone from accessing a credit report or scores.
  • Monitor credit card statements — If fraudulent charges are spotted, report it to the bank or credit card issuer immediately so the charge can be reversed and a new card issued. Keep receipts in case you need to prove which charges you authorized and which ones you did not.
  • Beware of scammers — Scammers may pretend to be from the retailer, bank or credit card issuer, telling the customer their card was compromised and suggesting actions to fix the problem. Phishing emails may attempt to fool someone into providing credit card information or ask the person to click on a link or open an attachment, either of which can download malware onto a computer.

Report any fraudulent issues or scams to BBB Scam Tracker and follow BBB on Twitter @BBBNWP for the latest updates.

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Rebecca Barr is the marketplace manager for the Better Business Bureau.


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