Average American had personal data stolen at least 4 times last year, report says

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You may have had your personal information stolen multiple times in 2019 and not know it.

Personal finance website Interest.com determined that the average American had their personal data stolen about once every three months or about four times over the course of the year, according to a report published earlier this week. The website compiled public data breach information from various sources to com up with the results.

“There are many variables at play when determining how many times your data may have been compromised last year,” the report said.

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“Folks who use the internet more often, log in to a large number of accounts each day or aren’t online much at all have different risks,” the report added.

The report points out that the breaches vary in severity. For example, while data is temporarily exposed in some data breaches, it isn’t always known if the data was actually stolen.

In other cases, however, such as the Facebook data breaches, exposed personal information has been documented as showing up in places like the dark web, where the information is often picked up by cybercriminal organizations.

In April 2019, third-party Facebook app datasets were exposed. One database had more than 540 million records with account names, Facebook IDs and other personal data.

A few months later, in July 2019, a data leak at First American Financial Corp., the largest real estate title insurance company in the U.S., exposed transaction records of 885 million individuals.

Records included bank account numbers and statements, mortgage and tax records, Social Security numbers, wire transaction receipts and drivers license images. The digitized records were available without authentication to anyone with a Web browser, according to cybersecurity researcher Brian Krebs.

In September, DoorDash, a food-delivery service, disclosed a data breach that affected 4.9 million people.

The most common outlets for breached data were social media sites, apps/software, and websites, Interest.com said. The website also offered the same advice that most experts do: Don’t reuse a password. Always uses unique passwords for every account or website.

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