What to do if your personal information is part of a data breach
If you suspect your data has been exposed, don't wait for the hacked company to notify you of the breach.
Be smart and take proactive steps right now to watch for fraud and then take action as soon as you suspect your ID might be stolen.
To get started, watch your credit card and bank statements for weird charges and payments, and order or credit report.
You get one free credit report a year from the three major credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.
To order your report At the Annual CreditReport.com.
Once you get your report look for unexpected activity, such as the new account you didn't open.
Look for a monitoring service that constantly monitors your credit report on major credit bureaus, and alert you when it detects unusual activity.
Through the service you can also set fraud alerts to notify you if someone is trying to use your identity to create credit.
Most services like lifelock or identity guard have a monthly subscription fee ranging from $10 to $30.
You can also directly set up fraud alerts with Equifax, Experian, Transunion.
Doing so will notify creditors to check with you first before allowing any new lines of credit.
Placing a fraud alert does not affect your credit score.
Freeze your credit immediately, this will stop anyone from opening credit and requesting loans and services in your name.
You need to request a freeze with each of the three credit reporting companies and you can make a temporary or permanent freeze.
In addition for each business and credit card company you think an account was open or charged without your knowledge, contact us fraud department.
While you are not responsible for fraudulent charges to an account You will need to report the suspicious activity properly.
Keep copies of all documents like emails with creditors or credit bureaus.
Also keep track of any related expenses and keep records of conversations about the theft.
You will most likely need these to show the cost of the hack in your time and money.
To get you started recovering from the theft The Federal Trade Commission has a valuable tool that helps you report identity theft and regain your identity through a personal recovery plan.
Head to www.identitytheft.gov to get started.
You can't always stop an identity hack but you can live with the damage.
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