Alert
Close

Help hungry seniors. Deliver help and hope before Thanksgiving. Donate

Bits & Bytes
Poll

Most Popular
Articles

Viewed

Scams & Frauds

Data Breach Hits Huge Companies

Protect yourself after the mass theft of email addresses from marketing company

Within a month of a breach, it's a good idea to get one of the three free annual reports you're entitled to, and another about four months later. Look for new accounts opened in your name. Every four months, check a free report from a different credit reporting agency — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion — but report suspicious activity on any report to all three.

If a breach involves your credit or debit card, PIN or online banking numbers or health insurance, immediately contact the provider to freeze and replace that account or other identifier.

If it's your Social Security, driver's license or passport number that's been taken, you may also consider identity theft insurance or other protection services. You can also place a fraud alert or credit freeze on your credit report.

A fraud alert is free, easy to establish and can be renewed every 90 days. When it's in place, you're supposed to be contacted whenever new credit or services are applied for in your name. It's not foolproof, but simpler and easier than the stronger step of a credit freeze.

A freeze costs $5 to $20 per placement or removal if used as a preventive measure. It blocks potential lenders or service providers — including utilities and insurance companies — from checking your credit file at all, preventing credit from being taken out in your name. But it also means that if you're applying for credit or services, you'll need to lift the freeze temporarily so that company can look.

  • If you haven't already, set up a dedicated email account on such free services as Gmail, Hotmail or Yahoo to use for your dealings online with companies such as Epsilon's clients. This way, if you're barraged with spam — or subject to future email data breaches — at least it won't affect your primary email address.


Sid Kirchheimer is the author of Scam-Proof Your Life, published by AARP Books/Sterling.

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts

Processing

Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

Technology
Resources

Social Networking

Step-by-step instructions on how to use some of the Web's most popular networking sites. Go

 

How to Use Your PC

Guides covering everything from setting up your desktop, to getting the most out of Excel. Go

 

Protect Your Digital Life

Keep your computer secure, your web surfing safe, and your inbox spam free with these tips. Go

Discounts & Benefits

Geek Squad Computing

Members save on Geek Squad services with Geek Squad® Tech Support & Guidance for AARP® Members.

AARP Discounts on ADT Companion Services

Members get 20% off NEW installation and activation of ADT® Personal Emergency Response System.

AARP Discounts on Consumer Cellular Phones and Plans

Members save 5% on monthly service and usage charges with Consumer Cellular.

Member Benefits

Members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change. Join Today

Featured
Groups

computer questions and tips

Computer Questions & Tips

Pick up some handy how-tos from this savvy group of techies. Discuss

 

Freebies Group

Favorite Websites & Freebies

Share your top sites for interesting information, helpful resources — and free stuff! Discuss