Better Business Bureau Alerts Consumers How to Protect Their Identities during Data Breaches

  
     
December 30, 2013

CHICAGO,IL – December 19, 2013 – The Better Business Bureau serving Chicago andNorthern Illinois (BBB) warns that the recent data breach that has impactedTarget Corporation is another example of how easily your personal or financialinformation can be compromised.

TargetCorporation is the most recent retailer to be hit by a massive data breachcomparable to other large scale breaches at T.J. Maxx and Marshalls. The typeof data stolen would allow thieves to create counterfeit credit cards to stealyour identity;  if pin numbers wereintercepted, it could allow thieves to withdraw cash from ATM machines.

“Withaccess to information such as pin numbers, it is very important for consumersto develop good habits for protecting this type of information as well aspasswords used to access credit card accounts” said Steve J. Bernas, presidentand CEO of the BBB. Additionally, he says “as consumers we must always bevigilant in protecting ourselves against becoming a victim of identity theft”.

Shouldyou find that you have become a victim of a data breach the BBB recommendsthere are five things you need to do:

  • Contact the organization that suffered the breach – they should have a hot line setup to address your concerns and answer your questions [Target Corporation hotline number is 866-852-8680].
  • Monitor your banking and credit statements closely – Check every item on your bank statements and credit card statements to be sure they are legitimate charges and expenditures.
  • Contact any affected financial companies – If your bank accounts, credit card accounts, or investment accounts are affected, immediately contact the companies and request that the account be closed and a new one opened.
  • File a fraud alert with all three credit reporting agencies – The credit reporting agencies are required by law to flag your credit report for 90 days if you file a fraud alert. Then if someone tries to open a new account using your information you should be contacted for verification.
  • Sign up for any free credit report monitoring that’s offered. – If the company that compromised your information offers a free monitoring program take advantage of it [One credit report provider is www.annualcreditreport.com].

Bernasadds, “Identity theft is still the fastest growing white collar crime. The BBBis here for consumers not only when they need help finding a trustworthybusiness, and also to help protect their identity”.

Goto www.bbb.org for free information.

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As a private, non-profit organization, the purposeof the Better Business Bureau is to promote an ethical marketplace. BBBs helpresolve buyer/seller complaints by means of conciliation, mediation andarbitration. BBBs also review advertising claims, online business practices andcharitable organizations. BBBs develop and issue reviews on businesses andnonprofit organizations and encourage people to check out a company or charitybefore making a purchase or donation.