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Consumer Alert

eBay data breach: Now what?

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The data thieves strike again. This time it's eBay. What does that mean for users? It's password change time again.

Even for folks who had come up with clever passwords, it's time to dump them in favor of a new one. And, as annoying as it may be, if you use the same password on eBay as you do on other sites, it's time to change those, too.

One thing we do know about data thieves is they're good at what they do. Target, Michaels, AOL, Sony, and many other companies that ought to have been able to repel attacks, failed to protect their customers. In this case, the thieves got employee log-ins and were able to grab an awful lot of information about the company's millions of users.

Here's what the thieves supposedly took from eBay: user's names, passwords, email addresses, mailing addresses, phone numbers, and birth dates.

By collecting bits and pieces from a variety of different databases, the thieves can assemble an awful lot of information about you. If they need another piece so they can steal your identity, they might well came after it through a phishing attack. That could be simply disguised as an email from a company you do business with.

So, don't send personal and financial information by email or text or even over the phone if you did not initiate the contact.

eBay said it does not appear that credit card or bank account numbers were taken.

"After conducting extensive tests on its networks, the company said it has no evidence of the compromise resulting in unauthorized activity for eBay users, and no evidence of any unauthorized access to financial or credit card information, which is stored separately in encrypted formats," the company said. "However, changing passwords is a best practice and will help enhance security for eBay users.

"Information security and customer data protection are of paramount importance to eBay Inc., and eBay regrets any inconvenience or concern that this password reset may cause our customers. We know our customers trust us with their information, and we take seriously our commitment to maintaining a safe, secure and trusted global marketplace."

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