Friday, October 21, 2022
Recent security breaches are affecting hundreds of thousands of people, which means North Carolinians should take action to protect their data. 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. More than 2.4 million North Carolinians were affected by these incidents last year.
Data breaches take place when personal information like Social Security numbers, bank or credit card numbers, or personal information is lost, stolen, or accessed improperly. Criminals can use this information to commit identity theft, putting you at risk of racking up debt, hurting your credit, or losing your money.
If you’ve been the victim of a security breach, follow these steps 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 a credit bureau. A fraud alert requests that banks and other creditors take steps to verify your identity before issuing credit in your name. The alert is free and lasts 90 days. Make sure to review the free copy of your credit report for suspicious activity. To request a fraud alert, contact one of the national credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion.
- Consider placing a security freeze. A security freeze blocks an identity thief from opening new accounts or accessing credit in your name.
- Monitor your credit. Identity thieves might not use your compromised information right away. Continue to monitor your credit report for suspicious activity.
If you believe that you have been the victim of identity theft, contact our office’s Consumer Protection Division at ncdoj.gov/file-a-complaint or 1-877-5-NO-SCAM.