Top 5 Things to Do if Your Credit Card Security is Breached

Wednesday, December 7, 2011 0:36
Posted in category Business & Finance

Identity theft and credit card fraud have become more common than ever, and everyone is trying to do their best to prevent their personal information and security from being breached. But you, as the customer, can’t always prevent a security breach.

For example, in April of this year, Sony’s PlayStation Network (PSN) was hacked. This means that the personal information of over 70 million members (including names, addresses, email addresses, and dates of birth) was given out. It’s possible that credit card information may have been breached as well, which would affect nearly 10 million people. You could have been one of them.

Following are the top five things that you should do immediately after learning that your credit card security has been breached:

1. Call your credit card company/ies

Report the breach immediately! All major credit card companies have a number that you can call any time of day  to cancel your card and/or get a new one issued. You can find this number on the back of your credit card, on your billing statement, or on the credit card company’s website. Be sure to ask the person you speak with for his or her name for your records. Some credit card companies provide a way for customers to report missing or lost credit cards through their website, too. To further cover your tracks, send a letter to the credit card issuer reaffirming that you requested your card be disabled, making note of the date that the theft was reported.

2. Contact the three major credit reporting agencies

Next, you should call all of the national credit reporting agencies and inform them of the security breach. They will then put a fraud alert on your credit cards, which will help them to spot any suspicious activity. These credit reporting agencies include: Experian (888-397-3742), Equifax (800-525-6285), and TransUnion (800-680-7289).

3. Change your passwords and PINs

If you believe that your Internet banking password and/or PIN could have been compromised, change them immediately. Choose a PIN that’s easy for you to remember, and don’t write it down! Choose an Internet password that includes at least one of each of the following: a capital letter, a lowercase letter, a number, and a symbol.

4. Report identity theft to the authorities

It’s actually a really good idea to report security breaches or identity theft to local law enforcement (using their non-emergency phone number, not 911), your state’s Attorney General, and the United States Federal Trade Commission (877-382-4357). Having your report on file can help you deal with any possible fraudulent charges that may show up in the future.

5. Become educated about how to prevent identity theft and security breaches

The United States Federal Trade Commission offers many tips on how to protect yourself from credit card security breach. Visit their website (www.consumer.gov/idtheft) for more information.

No one likes to deal with credit card fraud, but at least now you’ll know how to deal with it if the time comes!

Katrina Robinson is a freelance writer and editor. She writes about a wide variety of finance topics including the best balance transfer credit cards, low interest credit cards, and cash back credit cards.

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