Capital One: The World Knows What’s In Your Wallet

by Kate Hynson

Financial Frequency. myNews

August 2, 2019 .2 min read

News broke this week about the Capital One data breach that occurred in March of 2019, releasing the personal financial information of over 100 million Americans and six million Canadian individuals, who are either Capital One applicants, account owners or users.

The alleged hacker is a 33-year-old Seattle woman named Paige Thompson, who happens to be a former employee of Amazon Web Services. Within Amazon Web Services lies the cloud that holds the Capital One data that was breached.

According to the Wall Street Journal, there are questions concerning the safeguards around personal customer financial information, leaving financial institutions concerned for the safety of their users.

Here are some important numbers and facts to know when it comes to what type of information was leaked through the Capital One 2019 data breach: 

  • 120,000 Social Security numbers of credit card customers were released to the public
  • 75,000 bank account numbers of secure credit card customers that were exposed
  • Home addresses linked to accounts 
  • Individuals’ phone numbers 
  • Self-reported income included on applications 
  • Credit scores linked with accounts
  • Customer payment history 
  • Transaction data from 20+ days in the years of 2016-2018

Regardless of the fact that Capital One claims that the data breach was a result of the former employee’s ability to maneuver the system, the release of this information has left millions of Americans and Canadians worried whether or not if their data is safe with any bank using a cloud. 

So what can you do on your own to be mindful of protecting your financial information that’s meant to be confidential?

1) Password Protection 

It might seem basic at first, but keep your password up-to-date and difficult to crack is something you should always do. A common tip is to fill your password with numbers, a variety of both capital and lowercase letters, and special characters if the account permits them. This will make your password far more difficult to guess.

And when creating your password(s), avoid using your birthday or that of a family member. Protect yourself by choosing another set of numbers that are not easily identifiable with your account but that you will remember. 

2) Check on Your Accounts

Always double-check your payments and what you’ve been charged for before making a payment each month.

Check to see if subscriptions that you've canceled are in fact, canceled. But also check to make sure that you were not overcharged, accidentally charged for something or were charged twice for anything. These things happen more often than you might think, so giving your accounts a simple checkup might end up saving you a nice chunk of change.

3) Keep Your Personal Information in a Safe Place 

Reading over your bank statements and paying your rent or electric bill, are not things you want to do at your local Starbucks, especially under a public Wi-Fi. In fact, it's best that you keep your financial to-do's inside the home. This way, you can ensure that no one will be able to look over your shoulder and pick up your personal information or via public Wi-Fi.

Along with this, refrain from completing online financial paperwork on a public computer that others can access. Using a public computer to fill out personal docs does not promise you the protection that you might be looking to have on this information.


In a Capital One press release earlier this week, the financial institution stated that they have already started investing in cybersecurity in order to strengthen their security efforts.