Oh No, I Have Been Hacked

Because most financial transactions now take place online, the risk of identity theft and fraud is much greater than it used to be. Hacking can happen to anyone, and it's often hard to tell if your accounts have been compromised until it's too late.


Last week Toyota announced that hackers had gained access to their computer system, compromising the data of almost 300,000 customers. Of course, these customers’ personal information was the target of the breach but luckily, Toyota’s customer financial data or personal phone numbers were not compromised.

In July, Uber acknowledged that hackers had breached its computer systems and taken personal information from more than 50 million of the company’s customers. To keep this breach quiet, Uber paid out $100,000 to the hackers—and kept their actions secret. Though the data breach took place in 2016, Uber notified users this year of the targeted breach.

Because most financial transactions now take place online, the risk of identity theft and fraud is much greater than it used to be. Hacking can happen to anyone, and it’s often hard to tell if your accounts have been compromised until it’s too late.

While it may not be possible to prevent a hacker from breaking into your accounts, there are steps you can take to minimize the damage and secure your data after such an attack. If you think that someone has hacked your accounts, here are a few helpful things you can do.

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Change Passwords

If a hacker has managed to access your account, it is likely that they will have attempted to use the same password on other sites. If you think that this might be the case, then it would be wise to consider changing all of your passwords to your online accounts.

You should also make sure that you are using long, complex passwords that aren’t easily guessed. If you are able to, then consider using a password manager such as LastPass or 1Password to store all of your passwords securely.

The importance of two-factor authentication

This feature requires that you enter a code that is sent to your phone in addition to your password when logging in. It’s an extra layer of security that can be extremely useful.

You should make sure that you enable this feature on any site where it is available so that even if someone gets access to your password, they won’t be able to gain access without also having access to your phone.

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Check Your Online Accounts

You can check your online accounts to make sure no one is using them without your permission.

Check for suspicious activity

Look for unusual logins and activity on your accounts. You may find that someone tried to access a service from an unfamiliar location, or was granted access by an administrator who did not have authority over the account. Also be on the lookout for new email addresses in your inboxes; cyber criminals often create fake emails or email accounts and send themselves a password reset link so they can get back in if they’re locked out of their account.

Check for unusual purchases or payments

You may find that someone charged your credit card or bank account without your permission, or even worse, that they gained access to your financial accounts and

emptied them. Check for unauthorized devices on your network (this can be done by checking the authorized devices on your wifi network.

Check all email addresses associated with each account

If unfamiliar email accounts have been accessed from your computer, it may mean that someone else has been using your computer without permission. Check your username and password for each account. As stated earlier, the most important thing you can do is change your passwords.

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Reset Your Security Questions

If you have security questions on your account, it’s important to choose ones that are easy for you to remember. Make sure the question is something that you can answer without having to think too much and also makes sense. For example, if your mother’s maiden name is Smith, don’t use “What was my mother’s maiden name?” as a security question because anyone who has access to public records online could find out the answer easily.

Instead, try creating a question of your own. You could ask yourself what city you grew up in or what high school sports team did I play on? These types of questions are harder for someone else trying to guess since they require a bit more thought than just looking up an answer online like they would with a simple google search. The key here is making sure that whatever information you use isn’t easy enough for anyone else (including hackers) to find out by doing some research on you!

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Check for Updates

To check for and install updates, you can do the following:

  • On Windows, go to Start > Settings > Update & security. From there you can click Check for updates to see if any are available. If they are, you’ll be guided through the process of downloading and installing them.
  • On macOS, open System Preferences by clicking its icon in Launchpad (or find it under Applications). Then navigate to Software Update under System Preferences > App Store. Click on the Update button that appears in the lower-left corner of this window; a pop-up box will appear with an option for “Show More…” Clicking Show More… will reveal a dropdown menu listing all available updates; select one from this list (if one appears) and then click Install Updates when prompted by iTunes or Apple Software Update tool respectively.

How to Recover Your Hacked Email or Social Media Accounts

If you think your account has been hacked, the first thing to do is contact the company that manages your account. They will want to know as much information as possible about what happened and what accounts were affected.

Make sure that you have a backup of any data stored in your account and make sure that you have a strong password for each of these accounts. As we stated above, consider using two-factor authentication (2FA) for even more protection against hackers who are trying to access your personal information.

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Beware of Scam Emails

If your bank, social media provider or mobile phone company sends you an email warning that its security has been breached and asking for personal information such as passwords—be very careful. The message is probably a scam.

Email scams are most likely to happen to people who have had their accounts hacked and then used for illegal purposes by criminals. The purpose of these types of emails is usually to trick unsuspecting users into giving away personal information such as passwords or banking details by making them think they are real.


The internet world can be a scary place, and protecting yourself online is important.

There are many different steps you can take to protect yourself from data theft, but we hope this article has helped you understand how common it is and what you can do to protect yourself.

Remember: always keep your computer’s operating system up to date, and stay up to date regarding internet scams and fraud by following current technology news sources.


This resource is intended to be used for educational purposes only and does not constitute a solicitation to purchase any security or advisory services. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. An investment in any security involves significant risks and any investment may lose value. Refer to all risk disclosures related to each security product carefully before investing. Securities offered through Avery Wealth. Dan Reese is a registered representative of Avery Wealth.

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