How to Know If Your Facebook Account Was Compromised

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Man worried about data breach
Dean Drobot /

Are you waiting to find out if you are among those caught in the Facebook breach that has been making headlines this month? Don’t expect the social media giant to clue you in.

Although more than a half-billion accounts were involved, Facebook has no plans to tell people whether they were in that group, according to a Reuters report.

So, once again, the job of protecting your identity will fall squarely on your shoulders.

Fortunately, there is a way to discover if your Facebook account was compromised, according to BGR.

The publication says you can look up the email address associated with your Facebook account on the website Have I Been Pwned to find out if hackers have clawed their way into your info. Troy Hunt, a web security expert, created the free service.

If you discover that you were a victim of the Facebook breach, immediately change your password. If you have used the same password at multiple websites, change your password at all of those as well. (Yes, everyone knows that reusing passwords is a huge mistake, but many of us do it anyway.)

The Facebook data breach is yet another example of the potentially heavy price we all pay for sharing our personal information online, even with a company as well-established as Facebook.

As the U.S. Public Interest Research Group writes:

“For consumers who give personal information to just about any company, especially a social media company, it’s not a matter of if, but when the data gets compromised. Names, along with phone numbers, birthdates and email addresses are a dangerous combination in the hands of identity thieves.”

U.S. PIRG recommends that concerned Facebook users make note of any suspicious phone calls, emails or texts they receive. It notes that each data breach — such as the infamous Equifax breach of 2017 — potentially offers thieves more information about you, raising your risk level.

It’s also important to note that other personal information — such as answers you have used to “secret questions” — may have been compromised and should not be used in the future. These might include details such as the name of a pet or a high school mascot.

Finally, U.S. PIRG suggests putting a freeze on your credit file. We have tips for how to do this in “3 Ways to Protect Your Credit — and Their Pros and Cons.”

For further tips from the U.S. PIRG for dealing with the Facebook breach, visit its website.

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