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

The Better Business Bureau serving Eastern Massachusetts, Maine, Rhode Island and Vermont (BBB) warns that the recent data breach that has impacted Target Corporation is another example of how easily your personal or financial information can be compromised.

Target Corporation is the most recent retailer to be hit by a massive data breach comparable to other large scale breaches at T.J. Maxx and Marshalls. The type of data stolen would allow thieves to create counterfeit credit cards to steal your identity;  if pin numbers were intercepted, it could allow thieves to withdraw cash from ATM machines.

“With access to information such as pin numbers, it is very important for consumers to develop good habits for protecting this type of information as well as passwords used to access credit card accounts” said Paula Fleming, Vice President of Communications and Marketing of the local BBB. Additionally, she says “as consumers we must always be vigilant in protecting ourselves against becoming a victim of identity theft.”

Should you find that you have become a victim of a data breach the BBB recommends there 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 is866-852-8680].
  • 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]. 
Fleming adds, “Identity theft is still the fastest growing white collar crime. BBB is here for consumers not only when they need help finding a trustworthy business, and also to help protect their identity”.

Go to www.bbb.org for free information.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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