While the public has lately focused attention on a fugitive hacker and the government mass-surveillance programs he helped uncover, data breaches in recent years have exposed hundreds of millions of records containing personal information of the type often used by criminals seeking profit.
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Top 5 data breaches in Ohio since 2005
DSW Shoe Warehouse, Retail Ventures: 1.4 million
Ohio state workers: 1 million
Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company and Allied Insurance: 1 million
Ohio State University: 750,000
Concentra Preferred Systems: 396,279
Source: Privacy Rights Clearinghouse
Protecting against identity theft
Nearly everyone is vulnerable to identity theft, and there is little an individual can do to protect against third-party data breaches. But there are steps you can take to limit your exposure. Here are some tips:
- Ensure all portable devices have up-to-date security protections.
- Use unique passwords.
- Exercise caution in clicking on pop-ups, advertisements and links in email.
- Limit the amount of personal information you share.
- Monitor credit card statements and regularly review credit histories.
- Alert credit card companies and banks immediately if you suspect identity theft.