DATA BREACH TIPS
· Responsibility/liability– Consumers become victims of data breaches through no fault of their own – ifthey face unauthorized use of their credit or debit card their liability iszero.
· Checkcredit reports and account statements - If you are worried that a securitybreach has made you a target of identity theft, don’t panic, check yourchecking account or credit card statement regularly. Also, check your creditreport - it's always a good idea to do that regularly. Theft of a credit cardnumber is unlikely to lead to the thief opening new accounts. In the case ofTarget that’s because the key piece of information needed for “new account” IDtheft - your Social Security Number – was not part of the information that wascompromised.
· QuickAction - You need to act fast to dispute the charges and to limit yourliability for charges or withdrawals you did not authorize. Many companies thatissue credit cards voluntarily provide “zero” liability protection after youreport the loss or theft of your credit or having your card compromised in abreach. Typically, losses on credit cards are limited to $50. With debit cardsthat amount can be as high as $500 and even unlimited it depends on when younotify your financial institution. Write a follow-up letter to confirm that youreported the loss.
· Know yourrights – They are different for credit cards and debit cards. Federal lawsprotect both. When using credit cards consumers liability is greatly limited.If you report the loss before your credit card is used, under the Fair CreditBilling Act (FCBA) you are not responsible for any charges you did notauthorize. If your credit card number is stolen, but not the card itself youare not liable for unauthorized use. Debit cards are protected by theElectronic Funds Transfer Act (EFTA) your protection is tied to how quickly youact. Reporting before the card is used zero liability, two days to two weekslosses could be $50 - $500. After 60 days your liability is unlimited.
· Monitoryour accounts – It is important to routinely monitor your credit and banksstatements. Do not wait for monthly statements sign-up for free online access.It is not necessary to pay for expensive monitoring or fraud detectionservices. You can check your credit report with the three major creditreporting agencies for free once a year using www.annualcreditreport.com.
· Avoidfake emails – Do not respond to emails you may receive with offers to helpyou in an attack. Many of these emails may be fake. Do not click on any linksor provide any personal information that may be requested. If you have concernspersonally, contact your financial institution or credit card issuer to verifythe email is from them.
· Checkwith your insurance provider – Check your homeowners or renters insurancepolicy - it may cover losses due tofraud.
· CreditFreeze/Alerts – A credit freeze will prevent any lender from accessing yourcredit reports or scores as part of a credit application. If you are a victimof ID Theft or your accounts have been compromised and you have created anIdentity Theft Report you can place an extended credit alert on your creditreport. An extended alert lasts for 7 years. There may be a minimal feerequired.