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Consumer Alert: Protect Yourself After a Data Breach

Friday, April 19. 2024

Our office was recently notified of a security breach involving AT&T that impacted more than 1.7 million North Carolinians. Data breaches make your personal information such as Social Security numbers, bank or credit card numbers, or other personal information vulnerable. And criminals will not hesitate to use this information to commit identity theft, putting you and your hard-earned money at risk. If your data is compromised in a security breach, North Carolina law requires that the company or agency who held the data let you and our office know. Last year, our office received 2,032 notices of data breaches that impacted 4,960,767 North Carolinians.

If you have been impacted by a security breach, like the AT&T breach, follow our tips to protect your personal information and lessen the risk of identity theft.

  • Check your affected accounts. Review the accounts compromised in the security breach and identify any suspicious activity. If your credit or debit card number is involved in the breach, you should request a new card with a different number and change your associated passwords.
  • Sign up for free credit monitoring. Some businesses or government agencies offer free credit monitoring services. Remember, never provide private information without verifying that the service is legitimate.
  • Request a fraud alert from one of the credit bureaus. This notifies banks and other creditors to take extra steps to verify your identity before issuing credit in your name. A fraud alert is free and will last 90 days unless you request an extended seven-year fraud alert and provide a police report.
  • Avoid using the same password across various accounts. If your username and password are compromised in a breach, using the same password could help a criminal gain more access to other personal information.
  • Monitor your credit. Identity thieves might not use your compromised information right away. Continue to monitor your credit report for signs of suspicious activity.
  • Consider a security freeze. A security freeze blocks an identity thief from opening new accounts or accessing credit in your name. You can learn more about security freezes here.

If you believe that you have been the victim of identity theft, contact our office’s Consumer Protection Division at or 1-877-5-NO-SCAM.