Of all the institutions that could be hit by a data breach, a bank is undoubtedly one of the worst. Not only are they finance hubs for millions of account-holders, but they also contain sensitive data like loan applications, Social Security numbers and taxpayer information.
It’s a shame to even think that a financial institution, of all things, could fall victim to a data breach. But as instances with our own governments’ systems have shown, cybersecurity may not be these peoples’ forte. Tap or click here to see if you were affected by this unemployment insurance data breach.
And now, one of the nation’s biggest banks is in hot water over a significant data breach affecting businesses that applied for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). All this during a pandemic, no less! If you applied for a PPP loan, here’s what you need to know.
Careless BoA error exposes thousands of businesses to fraud
According to TechNadu, Bank of America accidentally exposed personal and financial data for potentially thousands of PPP loan applicants.
The data was apparently exposed on April 22 during a test run on the U.S. Small Business Administration’s web platform, which was supposed to give companies a chance to make sure everything was working before the second run of applications was processed.
Due to a mishandling of data during the test run, sensitive information was openly visible to both SBA-authorized lenders and their third-party vendors.
Exposed data included a number of sensitive points such as business addresses and tax ID numbers, as well as owners’ names, addresses, Social Security numbers, phone numbers, email addresses, and citizenship status.
Because owner information was exposed in the breach, there are some fears the data could be misused in the form of identity theft. Bank of America, however, alleges that only a small number of individuals were affected and that access to the information was limited. Affected individuals have also been contacted by Bank of America at this point.
The personal nature of this data makes the breach seem alarming, but if the scope is small enough, damage can potentially be mitigated. But as we’ve seen with data breaches, the outcome is totally unpredictable. Tap or click here to see how the Rally’s data breach affected thousands of innocent customers.
What should I do if I was affected by the breach?
If Bank of America reached out to inform you about the data breach, they will also have offered a complimentary subscription to Experian’s identity theft protection program. We highly suggest accepting the offer, as it can help you keep tabs on potential instances of fraud.
But, the best way to protect yourself, your money and identity is with Identity Guard. For a limited time, it’s offering a Junkmail and Robocall Stopper Add-on for free for Kim Komando listeners with the purchase of an Identity Guard Plan.
In addition, you may want to reach out to the various credit-reporting agencies and freeze your credit temporarily to prevent any further damage. Tap or click here to see how to do it.
It’s one thing to have a data breach during normal times, but as we’ve seen with COVID-19, scammers aren’t wasting a moment to take advantage of peoples’ pain. As long as you remain vigilant and keep an eye on your accounts, you can stop any scammers in their tracks before they have a chance to strike. Tap or click here to see why there are so many scams today.