June 13, 2019
By Mary Beth Eastman

5 Steps to Protect Your Data After the Quest Diagnostics Breach

Simple. Thrifty. Living.

On June 3rd, 2019, medical testing company Quest Diagnostics announced a hacker had accessed clients’ demographic and financial data, including social security numbers, via an online payment system. The companies involved remain unclear on the exact date of the breach: it seems to have happened at some point between August 2018 and March 2019.

This is an extremely large breach, and it could have disastrous effects for the 11.9 million clients whose data was compromised. Thankfully, you can take a few simple steps to protect your most sensitive information.

The good news is that the hacker didn’t breach any medical data. The breach happened through the American Medical Collection Agency, the company Quest Diagnostics contracts its financials through.

HIPAA requires that AMCA not receive access to medical data. In general hackers aren’t interested in it anyway, because it’s far more difficult to get ahold of, and less likely someone will buy it.

As of this writing, Quest hasn’t begun notifying clients that their data may be compromised. However, it’s likely they’ll be doing that over the coming days and weeks, along with giving information about exactly what data was breached.

In the meantime, it pays to be prudent. Follow these steps to proactively protect your data:

  1. Read everything closely. If Quest or any other entity reaches out to you about the breach, carefully read everything they send you, and hold on to a copy. Reach out to the company if you have any questions.
  2. Reach out to your financial institutions. Let your bank and any lenders know that your data has been breached, so they’re ready to assist you if anything goes wrong.
  3. Keep a close eye on your financials. Watch for unusual bank or credit card transactions, and keep an eye on your credit report. This step will hopefully be easy: AMCA has said it will provide up to 24 months of credit monitoring for affected individuals. But you don’t have to wait to hear from the AMCA: you can sign up today for identity theft protection from the most trusted names around. We’ve reviewed Experian, Life Lock and Identity Guard to help you choose the best service.
  4. Consider freezing your credit. Freezing your credit will keep you from getting access to any new lines of credit in your name — but it’ll protect you from others doing the same. If you aren’t planning on buying a home or taking out a new credit card, this may be a good call. It’s free, and you can unfreeze your credit at any time.
  5. Change your passwords. Changing your passwords regularly is good practice in general, and especially after a data breach.

A major data breach like this one can upend your life. With a little care, you can prevent fraud and do everything in your power to get the situation back under your control.

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