The recent theft of financial information from Target’s website is just one of many instances where consumers have been exposed to the risk of identity theft. Sensitive information such as account statements, loan or mortgage documents, or tax documents can also be compromised if they get lost in the mail, intercepted, or misdelivered. If you learn that your personal information has been compromised, here is some information that you can take to minimize the risk that you will become a victim of identity theft:
1. If the documents your bank or account numbers, you should request new account numbers. Although this can be a hassle, it is an important step to ensure that your accounts are not compromised.
2. If a bank or other business is responsible for exposing your information, you should ask that company to provide your free access to a credit monitoring service. This will give you quick alerts if someone attempts to open a fraudulent account in your name.
3. Finally, you should be carefully reviewing all of your accounts at the end of each billing cycle to make sure that all charges and transactions are legitimate.If the company that you are dealing with was at fault, you may also want to file a complaint with the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The CFPB tracks this sort of thing and may take action if problems are frequent or widespread.
.If you do find that you’ve become a victim of identity theft, you should check your credit report immediately and address the fraudulent accounts by following these steps.