Every day, you provide personal information to businesses and organizations you do business with. Unfortunately, that information is sometimes compromised by hackers. Kansas law requires businesses and government agencies that have experienced a security breach to notify affected consumers. Common types of security breaches include computer hackers infiltrating a business' computerized records, a business improperly disposing of records containing personal information, or a stolen computer containing personal information.
If you believe your personal information may have been compromised, here are some steps you should take:
If your credit or debit card information has been compromised in a data breach, you should closely check your statements for those accounts for any charges you did not authorize. If you see any suspicious activity, contact your bank or credit card company immediately to report it and request a new card and new PIN number.
In the event of a security breach, companies are often required to provide consumers with free credit monitoring services. If you receive a notice that you are eligible for such services, be sure to verify with your bank or credit card company that the offer is legitimate, and not just another attempt to access your personal information.
You can request a fraud alert be placed on your credit report by the three credit bureaus. This will place a note on your report that you were the victim of fraud, and alerts creditors to verify your identity before opening new accounts. Contact the credit bureaus to request fraud alerts:
You only need to request a fraud alert from one of the three credit bureaus. The law requires the bureau you contact to notify the other two bureaus.
A security freeze will place a hold on all access to your credit report. While the credit reporting agencies will provide this service free for victims of identity theft, they can charge $5 for all other consumers. While this is a good way to prevent further accounts from being opened in your name, it also means extra work for you to lift the freeze if you do apply for a new loan or credit account.
Learn more about security freezes.
Continue to monitor your credit reports on a regular basis. You can request a free copy of each of your three reports annually at www.annualcreditreport.com
. Rather than requesting all reports from all three credit bureaus at once, some consumers find it more useful to request one report every four months for more frequent monitoring.