Susan Tompor: Why you can’t ignore the hackers and data breaches, like one at T-Mobile | Business

Given all the stressors of late — flooded basements, job insecurity, the ongoing pandemic, fears that the delta variant will cause more havoc ahead — I’d daresay many people aren’t worrying a lot about data breaches and ID theft.

But the crooks aren’t giving up.

T-Mobile confirmed last week that it was hit by a “highly sophisticated cyberattack” that exposed names, dates of birth, Social Security numbers and driver’s license information for more than 40 million consumers who had applied for credit with T-Mobile.

No phone numbers, passwords or account numbers were reportedly compromised, according to the company. But some question whether that statement ultimately will be updated to indicate that phone numbers were compromised. Some data and screenshots shared by hackers suggest otherwise, according to a report by KrebsOnSecurity.

“T-Mobile customers should expect to see phishers taking advantage of public concern over the breach to impersonate the company — and possibly even messages that include the recipient’s compromised account details to make the communications look more legitimate,” according to a warning at KrebsOnSecurity.

T-Mobile also reported that it confirmed that about “850,000 active T-Mobile prepaid customer names, phone numbers and account PINs were also exposed.”

The company said it proactively reset all the PINs on those prepaid accounts.

Other customers, though, are encouraged to change their PIN by going online into their T-Mobile account or calling the company’s team by dialing 611 on their T-Mobile phone.

Paige Schaffer, CEO of global identity and cyber protection services at Generali Global Assistance, said some people may even want to temporarily delete some of the apps, such as their banking app or credit card app, that they have on their phones as this investigation continues.

If you keep passwords on your phone — which you shouldn’t do — she said you’d want to make sure to delete those passwords, too.

Hacking incidents may seem so common that we only pay attention to big ones these days. But consumers have to be aware that they now must pay closer attention as more information relating to them could be in the hands of…