Nevada Attorney General Adam Paul Laxalt offers tips of recovery for victims of data breaches. Recently, many consumers have received notifications from several major companies about hackers acquiring their personal information. While it may not always be possible to avoid keeping all of your personal information safe from a data breach, consumers can take steps to mitigate damages after the fact.
“As criminals become increasingly sophisticated, corporate data breaches have been on the rise,” said Laxalt. “Data breaches pose a unique threat to our community as they can expose personal identifying information and leave victims vulnerable to identity theft. As always, this office remains committed to combatting high-tech crime and keeping the identities of Nevadans safe.”
When data breaches occur, companies usually offer one to two years of free credit reporting. While the attorney general’s office does not endorse specific companies for credit monitoring, the free services offered by the companies in the event of a breach can be helpful to consumers affected by identity theft. Consumers should consider using the free services in addition to monitoring their credit personally.
In the short term, if you are concerned that your identity has been stolen, consider taking these actions to prevent harm to your personal and financial information:
Place a fraud alert on your account. The alert will require any business to verify your identity before issuing credit in your name. To place a fraud alert, contact Experian, TransUnion and Equifax to let them know you are a victim of identity theft and would like a fraud alert on your credit file. The alert is free and will stay on your credit report for 90 days.
Order your credit report. If you placed an initial fraud alert, you may obtain a copy of your credit report for free. If you did not set a fraud alert, you can order one free copy per year from Annualcreditreport.com. Once you have a copy, dispute any errors you find with the credit reporting agency and fraud department of each business.
Set up a credit freeze, if you are worried about damage to your credit. A credit freeze limits access to your credit and makes it more difficult for a hacker to open an account in your name. A credit freeze will last until you choose to remove it. Keep in mind that a credit freeze will require a fee of approximately $10. Whether you place a fraud alert or a credit freeze on your account, you should still monitor your credit for potential fraud.