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10 Steps to Protect Your Identity #eyedentitytheft2016

Posted by Amanda Dexter on Aug 31, 2016 12:00:00 AM


Over the past month, many of us have unfortunately learned that no matter how careful you are about protecting your personal information, no one is completely safe from identity theft. Skilled thieves have many ways to get ahold of your important data and know of several different ways to use it to their own benefit.

Although the source of the optometry data breach still hasn’t been formally identified, there are several steps you should be taking in order to try and protect yourself from other potential problems stemming from this initial security issue.

1. If you haven’t been affected yet, keep checking in with Chase

Don’t assume that you haven’t been affected just because you never received a letter or credit card in the mail. I didn’t know that I was affected by the security breach until I called Chase because an old address was used. I’ve also heard of people who are just finding out that they’ve been hit, weeks after the initial buzz. Also, there are some people who have mentioned that a second or third application was placed, so even if you were hit once already, you may want to even check again!

Chase Identity Theft: 1-888-745-0091

2. Have Chase report incident to the credit bureaus as fraud

Make sure that when you speak to the Chase Fraud Department that you get as much information about the application that was filed in your name as possible. Ask the representative to report the application to the credit bureaus as fraud (this can take up to 60 days). Additionally, you should follow-up with a certified letter (with return receipt) to Chase reporting the fraud and request that they report it to the credit bureaus so that the hard inquiry is removed from your credit report.

Chase Card Servicing

Attn: FACT Act Request, P.O. Box 15941, Wilmington, DE 19885

3. Contact the credit bureaus

Contact the fraud department at one of the three main credit bureaus. This will put a 90-day fraud alert on your credit. This will notify lenders and creditor who pull your report to take additional steps to verify your identification before they extend a credit line or loan in your name. Once you call one of the bureaus, they will alert the other two for you. You should also follow-up in writing after calling. You can also remove the alert at any time.

Equifax: 1-800-525-6285

P.O Box 105069, Atlanta, GA 30348

Experian: 1-888-397-3742

P.O. Box 949, Allen, TX 75013

TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289

Fraud Victim Assistance Department, P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92834

4. Report fraud to the FBI

File a complaint with the IC3 (Internet Crime Complaint Center). The IC3 accepts online internet crime complaints from victims of identity theft along with many other cyber attacks. Providing the FBI with as much information as possible will allow them to help find the source of the fraudulent activity and the database that was compromised.


5. Contact the Federal Trade Commision (FTC)

Contacting the FTC and reporting the fraud will put your information into a secure consumer fraud database, and may, in appropriate instances, share it with other law enforcement agencies. Due to the large volume of us who were affected by the security breach, this will also help find the thieves and the source of the information used. Also, if you decide to sign-up for an account, there are many resources to help with a fraudulent incident recovery plan with sample letters, a memo to law enforcement to help with filing a police report, etc.


6. File a police report

File a report with your local police. Having a copy of the police report can help provide evidence of fraud to creditors and will be necessary in placing a freeze or extended fraud alert with credit bureaus. Obtain a copy of the police report in case your bank, credit card company, or others need evidence.

7. Extend your fraud alert

An extended fraud alert will stay on your credit file for 7 years. This requires creditors to verify any request by contacting you on the telephone number(s) you provide to the credit reporting agency when you initially requested the alert. In order to place this extension, you will need to contact one of the major bureaus and provide a valid police report showing that you have been a victim of identity theft. Keep in mind that fraud alerts do not prevent third parties from viewing your credit file; however third parties are required to take certain steps to verify that you have authorized the activity on your account if they see a fraud alert on the credit file.

8. Consider requesting a credit freeze

A security freeze is another option that should be considered. With a security freeze, lenders will not be able to gain access to your credit file unless you give permission using a secret code (similar to a PIN number). Placing a freeze may require payment depending on which state you reside in.

9. Contact the IRS

Many identity thieves use personal information to file tax returns in a victim’s name. You should also send a form to the IRS alerting them that you are a victim of identity theft so that no one files a false tax return in your name.


10. Watch for other suspicious activity

Open and read all of your mail. Check your credit reports for any other unusual activity. Change your passwords. And don’t click on links on suspicious emails!

-Dr. Dexter

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Topics: Identity Theft



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