We trust the organizations we do business with to protect our personal information. Unfortunately, however, they don’t always do so. If your personal information has been compromised following a data breach or identity theft incident, you must take immediate steps to protect your credit. If you fail to do so, you face a long, hard road back to financial stability. In this article, we explain how to protect your credit following a data breach or identity theft incident.
Review Your Credit Reports
The first thing you should do following a data breach or suspected identity theft incident is reviewed your credit reports from the three major credit reporting bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion). After reviewing your reports, you should continue to closely monitor your existing credit card and bank accounts for any activity you don’t recognize.
Consider a Credit Freeze or Fraud Alert
After a breach, you generally have two options to protect yourself from identity theft: (1) a credit freeze and (2) a fraud alert. If you aren’t in the market for credit or loans, the best way to protect yourself from identity theft is to request a credit freeze through each of the credit bureaus discussed above. A credit freeze shuts down access to your credit report and provides you with a personal identification number that allows you alone to access your report. Since most creditors must see your credit report before approving a new account, a credit freeze makes it hard for identity thieves to open accounts in your name.
If you plan to apply for credit, however, you should consider issuing a fraud alert instead of a credit freeze. This ensures that your credit report remains accessible to others, but it warns potential creditors that you may be an identity theft victim.
In addition to the above actions, if you have noticed fraudulent activities on any of your credit accounts, you should consider doing the following:
- File a police report: Filing a police report will give you certain legal rights when you report the identity theft to creditors or credit agencies.
- File a Federal Trade Commission complaint: The Federal Trade Commission uses consumer complaints to track patterns of fraud, and this can help them identify and pursue identity thieves.
- Notify your creditors of the theft: Finally, you should report the theft to your creditors and close any of your accounts that have been opened fraudulently or otherwise tampered with.
Contact a Consumer Class Action Attorney Today!
If you are an identity theft victim, you need an experienced consumer class action attorney in your corner. Identify theft often occurs when businesses and other financial organizations negligently fail to protect your personal information. When one of these entities provides a party with unauthorized access to your personal information, we will work hard to make sure you are fully compensated for your losses. Please contact us today to schedule a consultation.