Home > Identity Theft > The JPMorgan Hack: What Should You Do?

Comments 0 Comments

JPMorgan Chase and at least one other bank were reportedly victims of a cyberattack, possibly orchestrated from Russia as retaliation for economic sanctions from the U.S. and European nations. Bloomberg first reported the breach based on sources familiar with the FBI investigation, which remains unconfirmed by the FBI and Chase. Requests for comment made by Credit.com to both entities were not immediately returned.

The attack, which is said to have exploited a previously unknown vulnerability in one of the banks’ websites, allowed hackers to steal checking and savings account information, though Chase has not seen an increase in fraudulent account activity, Bloomberg reported.

The goal of this sophisticated attack remains unclear. If it was to pilfer and abuse sensitive data, which would be a worst-case scenario for affected consumers, banks would have ideally flagged accounts for unusual activity, and accountholders would need to more frequently monitor their accounts for the same reason. If the motivations were strictly political, there’s still the concern of how this display of technological muscle-flexing could affect the economy.

What Consumers Can Do in Response

As this situation has been presented, it’s different than high-profile cyberattacks like those on the payment systems of retail giant Target and restaurant chain P.F. Chang’s — in those cases, consumer credit and debit card data was stolen, which is potentially damaging for victims’ short-term finances like access to cash and unauthorized credit card charges, as well as longer-term consequences like identity theft and new account fraud.

“This is a flat-out account monitoring issue, and people have a tendency to not focus on what’s going on in their accounts,” said Adam Levin, chairman and co-founder of Credit.com and Identity Theft 911. “In light of something like this, it brings home the need to frequently review activity in your accounts, whether you do it yourself or do it an easier way, which is get those transactional notifications from the bank.”

He’s referencing the free tools many banks, credit card issuers and credit unions offer to consumers to set up transaction alerts, whether it’s for purchases over a certain dollar amount or for every transaction made. Getting such notifications via text message would immediately alert you to someone using your account funds without authorization.

If someone gains access to and drains your bank account, you may find yourself without the means to pay essential bills, like student loans, utilities or your mortgage, which is not only damaging to your livelihood but also to your credit standing, because unpaid bills can wreck your credit.

As a consumer, you are often the last line of defense between ill-intentioned hackers and your financial information, so checking it from a variety of angles — account monitoring, credit reports, credit scores — will help you minimize the negative impact of an attack. Logging in to your financial accounts daily, as well as taking advantage of free access to your credit reports (through AnnualCreditReport.com) and your credit scores (which you can do using Credit.com’s free tools) can help you spot problems and resolve them before it causes worse financial damage.

More on Identity Theft:

Image: iStock

Comments on articles and responses to those comments are not provided or commissioned by a bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by a bank advertiser. It is not a bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Please note that our comments are moderated, so it may take a little time before you see them on the page. Thanks for your patience.

Certain credit cards and other financial products mentioned in this and other articles on Credit.com News & Advice may also be offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com will be compensated if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for any of these cards or products. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment.

Hello, Reader!

Thanks for checking out Credit.com. We hope you find the site and the journalism we produce useful. We wanted to take some time to tell you a bit about ourselves.

Our People

The Credit.com editorial team is staffed by a team of editors and reporters, each with many years of financial reporting experience. We’ve worked for places like the New York Times, American Banker, Frontline, TheStreet.com, Business Insider, ABC News, NBC News, CNBC and many others. We also employ a few freelancers and more than 50 contributors (these are typically subject matter experts from the worlds of finance, academia, politics, business and elsewhere).

Our Reporting

We take great pains to ensure that the articles, video and graphics you see on Credit.com are thoroughly reported and fact-checked. Each story is read by two separate editors, and we adhere to the highest editorial standards. We’re not perfect, however, and if you see something that you think is wrong, please email us at editorial team [at] credit [dot] com,

The Credit.com editorial team is committed to providing our readers and viewers with sound, well-reported and understandable information designed to inform and empower. We won’t tell you what to do. We will, however, do our best to explain the consequences of various actions, thereby arming you with the information you need to make decisions that are in your best interests. We also write about things relating to money and finance we think are interesting and want to share.

In addition to appearing on Credit.com, our articles are syndicated to dozens of other news sites. We have more than 100 partners, including MSN, ABC News, CBS News, Yahoo, Marketwatch, Scripps, Money Magazine and many others. This network operates similarly to the Associated Press or Reuters, except we focus almost exclusively on issues relating to personal finance. These are not advertorial or paid placements, rather we provide these articles to our partners in most cases for free. These relationships create more awareness of Credit.com in general and they result in more traffic to us as well.

Our Business Model

Credit.com’s journalism is largely supported by an e-commerce business model. Rather than rely on revenue from display ad impressions, Credit.com maintains a financial marketplace separate from its editorial pages. When someone navigates to those pages, and applies for a credit card, for example, Credit.com will get paid what is essentially a finder’s fee if that person ends up getting the card. That doesn’t mean, however, that our editorial decisions are informed by the products available in our marketplace. The editorial team chooses what to write about and how to write about it independently of the decisions and priorities of the business side of the company. In fact, we maintain a strict and important firewall between the editorial and business departments. Our mission as journalists is to serve the reader, not the advertiser. In that sense, we are no different from any other news organization that is supported by ad revenue.

Visitors to Credit.com are also able to register for a free Credit.com account, which gives them access to a tool called The Credit Report Card. This tool provides users with two free credit scores and a breakdown of the information in their Experian credit report, updated twice monthly. Again, this tool is entirely free, and we mention that frequently in our articles, because we think that it’s a good thing for users to have access to data like this. Separate from its educational value, there is also a business angle to the Credit Report Card. Registered users can be matched with products and services for which they are most likely to qualify. In other words, if you register and you find that your credit is less than stellar, Credit.com won’t recommend a high-end platinum credit card that requires an excellent credit score You’d likely get rejected, and that’s no good for you or Credit.com. You’d be no closer to getting a product you need, there’d be a wasted inquiry on your credit report, and Credit.com wouldn’t get paid. These are essentially what are commonly referred to as "targeted ads" in the world of the Internet. Despite all of this, however, even if you never apply for any product, the Credit Report Card will remain free, and none of this will impact how the editorial team reports on credit and credit scores.

Our Owners

Credit.com is owned by Progrexion Holdings Inc. which is the owner and administrator of a number of business related to credit and credit repair, including CreditRepair.com, and eFolks. In addition, Progrexion also provides services to Lexington Law Firm as a third party provider. Despite being owned by Progrexion, it is not the role of the Credit.com editorial team to advocate the use of the company’s other services. In articles, reporters may mention credit repair as an option, for example, but we’ll also be sure to note the various alternatives to that service. Furthermore, you may see ads for credit repair services on Credit.com, but the editorial team isn’t responsible for the creation or implementation of those ads, anymore than reporters for the New York Times or Washington Post are responsible for the ads on their sites.

Your Stories

Lastly, much of what we do is informed by our own experiences as well as the experiences of our readers. We want to tell your stories if you’re interested in sharing them. Please email us at story ideas [at] credit [dot] com with ideas or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks for stopping by.

- The Credit.com Editorial Team