Over 54 million Americans had their personal information stolen in the August T-Mobile data breach. It's the latest in a surge of hacks in recent years that are ultimately costing consumers billions.
On Aug. 20, cell phone carrier T-Mobile announced that nearly 54.7 million Americans were affected by a hack of its records, up from its initial estimate of 48.7 million. The hackers, meanwhile, say the real scope of the breach is double that figure.
Even more alarming, in some cases the information compromised included Social Security numbers and driver’s license numbers. In response, PIRG published a tip guide for how those affected can protect themselves against identity theft or "phishing" scams (those calls or emails you get from someone posing as a company or service, trying to get you to divulge personal information).
"When we sign up for a service or make an account online, we shouldn’t have to worry that our personal or financial information could be stolen at any moment," said PIRG Consumer Watchdog Teresa Murray. "That means we need stronger safeguards around personal data, and we need to keep giving consumers the tools to protect themselves in the meantime."
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