DATA BREACH TIPS
· Responsibility/liability– Consumers become victims of data breaches through no fault of their own – if they face unauthorized use of their credit or debit card their liability is zero.
· Check credit reports and account statements - If you are worried that a security breach has made you a target of identity theft, don’t panic, check your checking account or credit card statement regularly. Also, check your credit report - it's always a good idea to do that regularly. Theft of a credit card number is unlikely to lead to the thief opening new accounts. In the case of Target that’s because the key piece of information needed for “new account” ID theft - your Social Security Number – was not part of the information that was compromised.
· Quick Action - You need to act fast to dispute the charges and to limit your liability for charges or withdrawals you did not authorize. Many companies that issue credit cards voluntarily provide “zero” liability protection after you report the loss or theft of your credit or having your card compromised in a breach. Typically, losses on credit cards are limited to $50. With debit cards hat amount can be as high as $500 and even unlimited it depends on when you notify your financial institution. Write a follow-up letter to confirm that you reported the loss.
· Know your rights – They are different for credit cards and debit cards. Federal laws protect both. When using credit cards consumers liability is greatly limited.If you report the loss before your credit card is used, under the Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA) you are not responsible for any charges you did not authorize. If your credit card number is stolen, but not the card itself you are not liable for unauthorized use. Debit cards are protected by the Electronic Funds Transfer Act (EFTA) your protection is tied to how quickly you act. Reporting before the card is used zero liability, two days to two weeks losses could be $50 - $500. After 60 days your liability is unlimited.
· Monitor your accounts – It is important to routinely monitor your credit and banks statements. Do not wait for monthly statements sign-up for free online access.It is not necessary to pay for expensive monitoring or fraud detection services. You can check your credit report with the three major credit reporting agencies for free once a year using www.annualcreditreport.com.
· Avoid fake emails – Do not respond to emails you may receive with offers to help you in an attack. Many of these emails may be fake. Do not click on any links or provide any personal information that may be requested. If you have concerns personally, contact your financial institution or credit card issuer to verify the email is from them.
· Check with your insurance provider – Check your homeowners or renters insurance policy - it may cover losses due to fraud.
· Credit Freeze/Alerts – A credit freeze will prevent any lender from accessing your credit reports or scores as part of a credit application. If you are a victim of ID Theft or your accounts have been compromised and you have created an Identity Theft Report you can place an extended credit alert on your credit report. An extended alert lasts for 7 years. There may be a minimal fee required.