DATA BREACHES

There have been several recent headlines about data breaches involving the personal information of consumers. Often the information at risk involves names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, and personal addresses. A breach may also involve driver’s license numbers and credit card numbers.

Steps to take to help protect yourself after a data breach:

  • Consider placing a credit freeze on your files. A credit freeze makes it difficult for someone to open a new account in your name. If you choose to place a freeze, consider doing so with all three major credit reporting agencies.
  • If you place a freeze, you may have to pay a fee, often between $3 and $10. If you decide against a credit freeze, consider placing a fraud alert on your files. A fraud alert warns creditors that you may be an identity theft victim and that they should verify the identity of anyone seeking credit in your name. Be certain to renew your fraud alert periodically—they often expire every 90 days.
  • Monitor your existing credit card and bank accounts closely. If you see transactions or charges on your accounts that you do not recognize, contact your credit-card company or bank immediately and inform them of the fraudulent charges.
  • Check your credit reports from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion by visiting annualcreditreport.com. One report is free from each credit reporting agency each year. Credit reports are free for identity theft victims who have filed a police report.Accounts or activity that you do not recognize may indicate Identity Theft.
    • If you believe you are the victim of identity theft, The Missouri Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Hotline is available to assist consumers in reporting identity theft. Missourians can reach the hotline at 800-392-8222 or file a complaint online. More information is available on our website.
    • Additional information, including sample form letters for disputes and steps to take if you are a victim of identity theft, is included in this free publication offered by the Office of the Attorney General.





ID Theft Hotline 800-392-8222