Have you been a victim of data breach?
Here are some ways to try to protect yourself.
Check out WebWatcher. WebWatcher monitors internet sites where personal information is shared and generates an alert to the consumer if evidence of the consumer’s personal information is found. This is not available as a product in all countries.
Monitor your accounts for suspicious activity including medical, hotel, and reward points, as well as, the typical financial accounts.
Change passwords regularly and don’t use easy passwords. Also make sure your passwords are not the same across many accounts.
Review pay card account statements for unauthorized activity.
Be aware of third parties trying to gather information fraudulently also known as phishing. Be aware that most places have a typical way to contact you and it might not be by phone or email in some cases.
If you believe your information has been compromised and misused contact local law enforcement.
In the U.S. you may be able to review your credit history for free for any unauthorized charges. This is available for free every 12 months from the three major credit reporting companies at www.annualcreditreport.com or calling 1-877-322-8228.
You can contact each individually at:
Equifax, PO Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374, www.equifax.com, 1-800-685-1111
Experian, PO Box 2002, Allen, TX 75013, www.experian.com, 1-888-397-3742
TransUnion, PO Box 2000, Chester, PA 19016, www.transunion.com, 1-800-916-8800
You may also need to contact the Federal Trade Commission or the Attorney General’s office in your state. These steps can help you put out additional fraud alerts and put on security freezes. Make sure to keep a copy of any documents as well as police reports should you be asked to provide this to other agencies.
The FTC contact is:
Federal Trade Commission, Consumer Response Center, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20580, 1-877-IDTHEFT (438-4338), www.ftc.gov/idtheft
There are two types of fraud alerts for credit reports: initial alerts and extended alerts. Initial alerts are from suspected fraud and identity theft. It stays on a credit report for 90 days. Extended alerts are placed on your credit report when you have already been a victim of identy before and have required poof. This stays on your credit report at least 7 years.
Credit freezes, also known as a security freeze, are free of charge. No credit can be opened your name without use of a PIN that gets issued to you when you start a freeze. Security freezes are used to prevent prospective credit from accessing your credit report without your explicit consent. In order to get access to the credit freeze you have to lift the freeze temporarily. This may however delay getting credit. It doesn’t cost to get a security freeze placed or have it lifted. You have to place a security freeze at every credit reporting company individually.
You will need your name, social security number, birth date, recent addresses, and photo ID as well as any reports filed.
Credit reporting agencies have only one business day to place the freeze on the report. They have to send you written confirmation within five business days.
You also have rights under the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act
• You have the right to ask for a credit score.
• You have the right to dispute incomplete or inaccurate information.
• Consumer reporting agencies must correct or delete inaccurate, incomplete, or unverifiable information.
• Consumer reporting agencies may not report outdated negative information.
• Access to your file is limited. You must give your consent for reports to be provided to employers.
• You may limit “prescreened” offers of credit and insurance you receive based on information in your credit report.
• You may seek damages from violators.
• Identity theft victims and active duty military personnel have additional rights.