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Jack Poltorak, Virtual Chief Information Security Officer, NetSmart Plus

What You Need To Know About the Capital One Data Breach

On July 19th, Capital One discovered that the company had a data breach.  The configuration vulnerability had corrected the problem and started working with Federal Law Enforcement.  The FBI arrested the person responsible.

 What is known today is the following:

  • Capital One believes that the breach exposed approximately 100 Million individuals in the US and 6 Million individuals in Canada.
  • Capital One does not believe that any account numbers or login credentials were compromised and 99% of Social Security numbers were not compromised.
  • About 140,000 Social Security numbers of their credit card customers were exposed.
  • About 80,000 linked bank account numbers of their secured credit card customers were exposed.
  • For Canadian residents about 1 Million Social Insurance Numbers were compromised
  • Capital One believes that the data that was exposed was credit card application data for those who applied between 2005 and 2019.

Capital One will contact affected individual and provide a year of credit monitoring and Identification Protection for anyone effected.

How to protect yourself after a Credit card Breach

1.       Freeze your Credit – If your data was stolen, a credit freeze makes it unlikely that new accounts can be opened in your name.  Most creditors check your credit history as part of the application process and with a freeze in place they will not be able to access your credit history.

Freezing your credit does not affect your credit scores.  When you are ready you can “thaw” your credit if you are applying for credit.

Contact Equifax, Experian and TransUnion to freeze your accounts.  This is a free service for consumers.


2.       Place a Fraud Alert on your account – If you are in the process of opening an account, buying a car or house, placing a freeze on your account will cause the application to be denied.  A Fraud Alert will flag the creditors to verify your identity before issuing new credit in your name.

A Fraud Alert lasts for one year and is renewable and you will only need to contact one of the bureaus and ask for the alert.

For higher protection, you can freeze your accounts when your applications for credit are concluded.


3.       Check all 3 Credit Reports – You are entitled to at least one free credit report from each of the credit bureaus every 12 months via

Check the report for:

  • New accounts that you didn’t open.
  • Credit inquiries that don’t match when you applied for credit.
  • Balances that don’t match your statements.


4.       Watch your credit card activity – Freezing or placing a Fraud Alert on your credit will not prevent fraudulent charges on an existing account.  You can protect yourself by following these steps.

  • Regularly stay on top of your credit card statements.  Look for charges that you do not recognize.  Investigate them.
  • If you see a suspicious charge on your credit card, contact the Credit Card company as soon as possible and dispute it.
  • Sign up for Text or Email Notifications about credit card transactions.  Many Credit Card companies can contact you on every charge or charges over a specific dollar amount.

5. Practice document security – This is more of a future plan, but its best to be aware of all of your documents at all time. Any sensitive data could erupt a breach. Don’t leave your social security card, address, or any personal information sitting out and if you are looking to destroy it, partner with a company such as ShredHub to shred your documents and ensure security. This same rule applies at your organization. Sensitive documentation can be lying in charts, folders, Human Resource Records, bank financial statements – even accounts payable information. Paper documents can easily be taken.

6. Secure your network – If it can happen to a company like Capital One, there’s always a possibility it can happen to your organization. Ensure your network is secure so you do not receive any interruptions or breaches of personal information that is filtering through your organization. Cyber Security Companies like Applied Innovation with their NetSmart Plus offering can easily ensure your network is fully monitored and proactively ward off cyber criminals.

Read More about the Capital One Data Breach Here.




Contact Applied Innovation if you’d like to speak with a NetSmart Plus representative on securing your network!