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Call for Action: Cyber breaches far reaching impact

One of the big stories of 2015 was the extent of cyber breaches which compromised information from tens of millions of people.

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- One of the big stories of 2015 was the extent of cyber breaches which compromised information from tens of millions of people. While these breaches made headlines last year, this year and following years should be ones of vigilance for consumers whose data has been stolen.

The impact of cyber breaches may be felt for years to come as people begin to realize their personal information is being used in a variety of ways including identity theft, altering medical records, stealing money, and so on.

The cyberattacks on government data bases affected over 22 million current and former government employees. In addition, over 5 million of these employees also had their fingerprint information stolen.

But attacks against the government are only part of the cyber threat picture. Attacks against corporations are increasing and the number of consumers impacted is staggering. These data breaches point to our vulnerability, and the importance of vigilance on the part of consumers whose information has been hacked.

One big caution for consumers who are usually offered identity theft when information has been stolen. While this type of help may be useful it is far from fool proof. In fact, consumers should not be lulled into a sense of confidence that they are protected but should take steps to protect themselves.

Call For Action, with grants from Visa and the CBM Credit Education Foundation has produced a guide on identity theft that provides valuable information to consumers who are the victims of identity theft. For example, make sure all personal financial information has been protected with new passwords. Check your credit record with the credit bureaus every year. Find more information at: bit.ly/1SCGVjg