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How to help protect your identity after a data breach

Helpful steps to take when a data breach occurs

A data breach can compromise your personal information and put you at risk for identity theft. Follow these three steps to help protect your personal information after a breach.

1. Consider placing a credit freeze

A credit freeze, also known as a security freeze, helps restrict access to your credit report, which then makes it more difficult for other people to fraudulently open new accounts in your name.

To be most effective, place a freeze with each of the three credit bureaus: TransUnion®, Experian®, and Equifax®. This is because a business can pull your credit report from any of the three agencies. For instance, if a business requests your credit report from Experian or TransUnion, and you’ve only frozen your Equifax file, they’ll still be able to gain access to the report from the other two bureaus.

When you set up the credit freeze, you will be required to select a PIN to use when you’re ready to un-freeze your credit or submit legitimate applications. More information about credit freezes is available from the Federal Trade Commission.

2. Watch for unusual activity

  • Monitoring your accounts is important, particularly in the months following a data breach. Review the transactions on your bank and credit card statements regularly and set up account alerts to quickly spot unusual activity. Report suspicious or unauthorized transactions right away.
  • Be sure to get your free annual credit report from each credit bureau. Monitoring your credit reports is still one of the most effective ways to identify irregular activity. Visit to get free copies of your credit reports each year.

3. Review your security options

  • Update your accounts with additional security measures where available. Two-factor authentication provides an extra layer of security to help protect your accounts. This can make it harder for anyone to access your accounts, even if they have certain personal information. Wells Fargo customers can learn more about available Security Tools and Options.
  • As an added precaution, change your usernames, passwords, and PINs because they are often stolen in data breaches. Don't use the same password more than once.

Explore more tips at Wells Fargo’s Security Center.