Protecting Your Privacy - Credit Card Data Breaches

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As the holidays approach you will most likely be using your credit cards with more frequency and in new retail stores. If you recall, during the last holiday season, Target, Neiman Marcus and other major retailers had to inform customers of security breaches which resulted in payment information being made public to hackers. In the highly technical world we live in these days, data breaches are going to unfortunately become more common. We spoke to a lawyer on JustAnswer who helped explain the steps you should take to protect yourself if you think your information may have been part of a data breach.

The first thing you should do is cancel the credit card and notify the bank or the company about the possible breach. You should then initiate either a fraud alert or a credit freeze.

A fraud alert puts a warning flag on your credit history. Issuing a fraud alert tells any credit company that you should be contacted via telephone number and have your identity verified prior to any credit issued. Creating a fraud alert is free, will stay on your credit report for 90 days and is a first step in preventing possible identity theft. You just need to contact one of the three major credit reporting companies and set it up. You can read more about it here.

If you want to take your identity protection one step further, you can issue a credit freeze, which literally stops anyone from taking credit out in your name unless they have a proper password or you unfreeze it. To issue a credit freeze you would contact a credit reporting company and a follow a similar process to a fraud alert. Unlike a fraud alert, you will have to ask the company to lift the freeze as it does not expire after 90 days. You can read more about credit freeze FAQs here.

If you have additional questions about credit card protection, lawyers on JustAnswer are available 24/7. Ask Now >