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My data has been stolen! What can I do?

If you have used a website or online service and it has been hacked, your data (name, email address, telephone number, national registration number and even passwords) could end up on the Internet. Sometimes well-known, secure websites fall victim to hacking or data theft: an online shop where you have made a purchase, an appointment platform you have used to book a doctor's appointment or social networks such as Facebook and LinkedIn. The stolen data is sold to all sorts of cybercriminals who then use it to defraud you.

How do you know if your data has been stolen?
  • If an organisation or company of which you are a customer is the victim of a hacking attack in which data has been stolen, that organisation or company has an obligation to inform all victims. In the best-case scenario, the organisation informs you personally, or you learn about it in the media.
  • Do you often receive phishing messages or phone calls from strangers? This could be a sign that your e-mail address or telephone number is on a list of stolen data.
  • You can check for yourself on websites such as Haveibeenpwned or Firefox Monitor to see if your e-mail address is on a list of known data breaches. Check it regularly!
What can you do about it? Don't just sit back. Act immediately.

It is impossible to get your data off the Internet again. But what can you do?

Have your personal details been stolen? Name, address, telephone number, e-mail address or national register number? If so, beware of fraudsters. They can use these identity details, for example, to place orders in your name, conclude contracts, etc. These details are often used to gain your trust and defraud you. If you receive a call from a stranger claiming to be a bank employee, you're more likely to trust them if they know where you live and what your National Register number is.

Have your bank details been stolen or have you inadvertently passed on your bank or response codes to a crook?

  • If you lose money or are the victim of extortion, report it immediately to the local police: https://safeonweb.be/en/when-file-report
  • Contact your bank and/or Card Stop on 078 170 170 if any bank details have been disclosed or if any suspicious transactions have taken place. If you do so quickly, the transaction may still be blocked.

Have your e-mail address and password been stolen?

Immediately change the passwords you have used on the platforms concerned.  If you use the same password in different places, which is strongly discouraged, change it everywhere.

Also change your e-mail password. Your e-mail address is often set up as a recovery address. If a crook has access to your e-mail, he can ask for a new password via your e-mail address every time you change your password. 

The best advice: from now on, use two-factor authentication wherever you can.