intro: Your money is safe, JPMorgan Chase told customers after a major security breach -- but at least one expert says that doesn't mean you're in the clear.
The theft of personal information, a security expert said, may have more troubling consequences than if credit card numbers had gotten stolen.
That's something to consider after JPMorgan Chase, the country's biggest bank when measured by assets, announced Thursday that names, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses of customers in 76 million households and 7 million businesses were compromised.
Here's what you need to know:
quicklist: title: Who's affected? text: You were impacted if you use these Web or mobile services: Chase.com, JPMorganOnline, Chase Mobile or JPMorgan Mobile.
quicklist: title: What's the danger? text: JPMorgan Chase hasn't seen unusual fraud activity related to the attack, but phishing is "the biggest risk," the bank said.
Stolen information can lead to the "trifecta of 'ishings," said Adam Levin, founder of Identity Theft 911. In addition to phishing, which is through email, there's also "vishing." That's when you receive a phone call or voice message that tries to solicit your information. The third scheme is "smishing," which uses text messages. JPMorgan Chase said it never asks for personal information via email or text.
quicklist: title: Identity theft is a major worry. text: "There is no evidence that your account numbers, passwords, user IDs, date of birth or Social Security number were compromised during this attack," JPMorgan Chase said, but that doesn't mean this is no big deal.
This could be more serious than a credit card breach, Levin told ABC News. It can take anywhere from hours to months to undo the consequences of identity theft, or even longer for medical identity theft.
"It’s difficult because you first have to realize you’re a victim," he said.
quicklist: title: Do you need to change your password or get a new credit or debit card? text: You don't need to change your password or get a new card issued, JPMorgan said.
quicklist: title: Credit monitoring may be a good idea. text: Credit/identity theft monitoring isn't necessary, JPMorgan said. But it won't hurt, especially if you already have access to free services, Levin said. Your insurance or credit card company may already offer this service.
"The problem is your money is safe but your identity may not be," Levin said. "And if your identity is compromised, your life is not safe."