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Yahoo breach affects 3 billion accountholders

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs (SCDCA) is encouraging Yahoo Mail users to take action to secure their online accounts in light of the most recent breach announcement.

While the company initially reported that one billion addresses were compromised during 2013, they have now revealed that likely every person who had a Yahoo email address in 2013 was affected. Information stolen includes names, email addresses, phone numbers, birth dates as well as encrypted passwords and security questions and answers. Yahoo Mail users should consider the following:

– Change your password and security questions immediately. Use strong, creative passwords (uppercase, lowercase and special characters) and don’t share them with anyone. Don’t use the same passwords or security questions for multiple accounts, especially when using your e-mail address as the login name on that site.

– Watch out for phishing attempts. Asking for personal or sensitive information via a phone call, text or e-mail is a tactic used by scammers. Never reply to texts, pop-ups, or e-mails that ask for verification of personal information. Avoid clicking on links or downloading attachments from suspicious emails or texts. Report scams to SCDCA’s Identity Theft Unit online or by calling 844-835-5322.

– Closely monitor financial and benefits statements/accounts. Check all monthly statements and account activity, especially for financial accounts saved as payment options on internet merchant sites. Review them carefully and notify the financial institution/provider as soon as you spot an unauthorized or suspicious item.

– Consider a fraud alert and security freeze. Prevent scammers from opening new accounts using your information by placing a fraud alert and/or security freeze on your credit reports. A fraud alert tells a business accessing your report to take extra steps to verify that you are the one seeking its goods/services. When a security freeze is in place, no one can access your report without your “okay.” For more information on these tools visit the Identity Theft Unit’s webpage or call 844-835-5322.