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What happened

Personal data has been found on the dark web belonging to about 7.6 million AT&T customers as well as 65.4 million former ones. The leaked data, which appears to be from 2019, includes people’s names, contact information, Social Security numbers, and more. In a press release, AT&T said it has reset passwords on affected accounts and is sending emails or letters to those impacted by the breach.

So what

If criminals get a hold of your Social Security number and other information, they can use it to steal your identity. That might mean opening a credit card or borrowing money in your name. That can damage your credit rating and even leave you facing legal action for someone else’s debts.

Sadly, our personal information has never been more at risk. Writing for the World Economic Forum, Alex Yampolskiy, CEO of SecurityScorecard, predicted that 2024 could break records for the number of data breaches. Telecommunications companies are a particular focus for hackers, and AT&T is not the only one to have been targeted.

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Now what

AT&T says it will offer free identity theft and credit monitoring services to anyone whose data was leaked. If you’ve been the victim of a security breach, go to and follow the step-by-step instructions.

Here are some ways to protect yourself and your finances:

Monitor your credit: You can get free weekly credit reports from all three credit bureaus at Pay particular attention to any accounts you didn’t open or credit inquiries from unfamiliar companies.Use hard-to-guess passwords: Consider using a string of unconnected words, numbers, and symbols. It’s also important to use a different password for every account, even though it can be a hassle. If you struggle to remember all your passwords, a password manager may help.Consider setting up a credit freeze or fraud alert: A fraud alert means credit bureaus have to take extra steps before allowing a credit request in your name. A credit freeze stops anyone from accessing your credit report at all. If you know your identity has been compromised, these can stop the fraudsters from borrowing money in your name.Use two-factor authentication (2FA): This is an additional layer of security on top of your password, such as an SMS message or extra authentication code. It’s especially important for any financial activities such as online banking or budgeting apps.

Ultimately, awareness and vigilance are two of the strongest tools any of us have against identity theft. That means everything from being cautious about clicking on email links to shredding documents and keeping an eagle eye on your bank statement and credit report.

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