On July 19, 2022, Dallas-based Vista Bank reported a data breach with the Office of the Attorney General of Texas. According to Vista Bank, the breach resulted in the names, Social Security numbers and financial information of certain individuals being compromised. After confirming the breach and identifying all affected parties, on July 19, 2022, Vista Bank began sending out data breach letters to all affected parties.
If you received a data breach notification, it is essential you understand what is at risk and what you can do about it. To learn more about how to protect yourself from becoming a victim of fraud or identity theft and what your legal options are in the wake of the Vista Bank data breach, please see our recent piece on the topic here.
What We Know About the Vista Bank Data Breach
News of the Vista Bank breach is still quite new, and the company has not yet posted notice of the breach on its website. Thus, all available information comes from Vista Bank’s filing with the State of Texas, which indicates that the breach involved the following data types:
Social Security Numbers, and
Financial information (bank account numbers, credit card numbers, and debit card numbers).
According to the company’s most recent filing, it estimates that 14,418 individuals were affected by the breach in the State of Texas alone. On July 19, 2022, Vista Bank sent out data breach letters to all individuals whose information was compromised as a result of the recent data security incident.
More Information About Vista Bank
Established in 1912, Vista Bank is a financial institution based in Dallas, Texas. Vista Bank currently operates 15 branches throughout West Texas, including in Austin, Dallas, and Fort Worth. Vista Bank offers a traditional suite of banking products, including checking and savings accounts for individuals and businesses, savings accounts, CDs, individual retirement accounts, personal loans and business loans. Vista Bank employs more than 113 people and generates approximately $20 million in annual revenue.
What Are the Causes of a Data Breach?
While the manner in which hackers carry out data breaches varies, the goal is always the same: to obtain sensitive consumer information that can be used by the hacker to commit identity theft or sold on the dark web to a third party who, in all likelihood, has similar intentions. From the consumer’s perspective, little can be done to prevent a data breach, aside from being careful about which companies you give your information to. However, once a data breach occurs, consumers can take steps to reduce the risk of identity theft or fraud.
Below is a list of steps to take after a breach.
Read the data breach letter carefully to determine what information was leaked
Data breaches can impact a wide range of data types, and the risks of a breach depend, in part, on the type of information leaked as a result of the breach. When reading a company’s data breach letter, note what specific data types of yours were compromised. This will give you a better idea of what additional steps you need to take to protect yourself.
Report the breach to your financial institutions
Any breach involving financial information or your Social Security number should be reported to all your financial institutions. In this case, Vista Bank will obviously be aware of the breach; however, affected parties should also notify any other banks or credit unions where they have accounts.
Close any bank accounts or credit cards if the account number was compromised
If your financial account information was leaked, the safest bet is to close the accounts and open new ones. In most cases, your bank will recommend this; however, even if they don’t, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Sign up for free credit monitoring offered by the company that leaked your information
Credit monitoring is routinely offered by companies that leak consumers’ information. Most often, companies provide free credit monitoring for a specified period—usually 12 or 24 months. Signing up for free credit monitoring is free, easy and helps to prevent hackers from successfully using your information to commit identity theft or other types of fraud. Moreover, you do not give up any of your rights to pursue a claim against the company by taking them up on their offer.
Place a fraud alert or a credit freeze on your credit account by contacting one of the three main credit bureaus
The three credit reporting bureaus allow consumers to place fraud alerts and credit freezes on their accounts. A fraud alert notifies potential creditors that your information was recently leaked, giving them a heads up that something may be awry. A credit freeze actually prevents any company from pulling your credit without your advance authorization. The Identity Theft Resource Center notes that placing a credit freeze on your credit account is the single best way to prevent fraud in the wake of a data breach.
Keep a close eye on your bank and credit card accounts for any signs of fraudulent activity.
Data breach victims must remain vigilant in checking their financial accounts and credit reports. While hackers will often use the information they obtain through a breach right away, that isn’t always the case. This is especially true when the leaked information includes data that doesn’t “expire,” such as Social Security numbers.