When it comes to identity theft, prevention is the best option. Unfortunately, consumers can’t always ensure that their best efforts will protect their information. Data Breaches are becoming more and more common as identity thieves find creative solutions to obtaining information from businesses and retail sites.
If you’ve been notified that a business you’ve patronized has experienced a data breach, contact them immediately to identify what information has been stolen. Then report the theft by contacting the Federal Trade Commission and completing an Identity Theft Affidavit.
Your Identity Theft Affidavit will also help you report the breach to your local law enforcement. Many agencies you will be in contact with will ask for your Identity Theft Affidavit and Police Report. These documents will aid you in correcting your credit report and clearing your history.
Tips For Dealing With A Data Breach:
- Know Your Options – Contact your bank or credit union immediately to discuss protecting your accounts. Some institutions may suggest closing the compromised accounts, while others may have fraud protection programs that will closely monitor the accounts for fraudulent usage.
- Place a Fraud Alert On Your Credit Report And Obtain A Copy – Contact one of the three credit reporting bureaus to notify them that you may be a victim of identity theft and would like to place a fraud alert on your credit. The contacted credit reporting bureau will subsequently notify the other two bureaus and place an alert on your behalf. Victims of Identity Theft can place fraud alerts and credit freezes as well as obtain copies of their credit report for free in Colorado. Request a copy of your report as soon as possible in order to identify what is on your report before any potential theft has occurred. Information on a credit freeze can be found here.
- Pay Attention To Unusual Mail or Emails – If the identity thief is using your information to open up new credit you may receive notifications about ‘your’ loan application, new credit card, or even an overdue payment on an account you do not recognize.
For more information on protecting yourself please visit the Identity Theft Center. If you are a victim of identity theft call the toll free Colorado Bureau of Investigation 24 Hour Identity Theft & Fraud Hotline at 1-855-443-3489.