Stop.Think.Connect Quick Tips
If you think your personal information has been compromised, below are some suggested, but not exhaustive steps to take.
- Immediately change all passwords; financial passwords first. If you used the same password for multiple resources, make sure to change it for each account, and do not use that password in the future.
- Disconnect your computer from the Internet.
- Restart your computer in safe mode.
- Back up your data.
- Contact companies, including banks, where you have accounts as well as credit reporting companies - Close any accounts that may have been compromised. Watch for any unexplainable or unauthorized charges to your accounts.
- Report the attack to the police and file a report with the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team and the Federal Trade Commission as well as the proper authorities listed below.
- Consider other information that may be at risk - Depending what information was stolen, you may need to contact other agencies, such as the Department of Motor Vehicles or the Social Security Administration if your Social Security number was stolen.
If you think your computer or personal information has been compromised, you can file a complaint about Internet-related frauds, scams, and suspicious activity with the following organizations:
- The Federal Trade Commission - The Federal Trade Commission is the nation's consumer protection agency and collects complaints about fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices. If you think you may be a victim of fraud, file a complaint with the FTC.
- firstname.lastname@example.org - If you receive an email that you think may be a scam, forward it to the FTC and it will be stored in a database that law enforcement agencies use to generate legal cases.
- Your State Attorney General - In addition to the FTC, you can also file a complaint with your state Attorney General's office if you think you may be a victim of fraud. Your state Attorney General's office handles a wide range of complaints related to consumer protection.
- The Internet Crime Complaint Center - The IC3 is a partnership between the FBI, the National White Collar Crime Center, and the Bureau of Justice Assistance, whose mission is to serve as a vehicle to receive, develop, and refer criminal complaints related to cyber crime.
- email@example.com - In addition to forwarding spam to firstname.lastname@example.org, you can also forward spam to email@example.com. The Anti-Phishing Working Group is a consortium of ISPs, security vendors, financial institutions and law enforcement agencies that use this email to fight phishing.
- www.bbb.org - The Better Business Bureau accepts complaints from consumers against businesses or services, and is dedicated to fostering an ethical business environment.
- National Crime Prevention Council - The mission of the NCPC is to be the nation's leader in helping people keep themselves, their families, and their communities safe from crime. To achieve this, the NCPC produces tools that communities can use to learn crime prevention strategies - including a podcast series for children and adults on the facts of cyber bullying, how to prevent it and manage it.
- National Center for Missing and Exploited Children - This nonprofit organization has a Congressionally-mandated CyberTipline as a means for reporting crimes against children. Reports may be made 24-hours a day, 7 days a week online at www.cybertipline.com or by calling 1-800-843-5678.
- Department of Justice - The DOJ's Computer Crime & Intellectual Property Section tells you where to go to report hacking, password trafficking, spam, child exploitation and other Internet harassment.