Consumers receive breach notification letters (and e-mails) all the time, but do you know what you should do if you receive a breach notification? Chances are, if you live in one of the 46 states with a breach notification law, you have received a notice that your personal identifying information may have been lost or stolen.

Here are some helpful tips of what you can do after receiving the notice:

1. Identify the type of personal identifying information (PII) that was compromised.  For example, was the data breach limited to e-mail addresses or did it include Social Security numbers, bank account numbers, addresses, dates of birth, etc….  The type of data lost or stolen can indicate your risk for identity theft.

2. Do not throw away the data breach/loss notice!  Keep the notice because it can be used in the future to protect your identity, especially with the nationwide credit reporting agencies (Experian, Equifax and Trans Union) and law enforcement if you have to file a police report.

3. Identify what steps the company recommends to protect your personal data.  For example, does the company suggest you change your password or username or close your account?

4. Is the company offering you free credit monitoring?  If the company offers you free credit monitoring, I recommend you review all the terms and conditions for the service before you enroll.  Why? For starters, some credit monitoring companies will provide you with the monitoring service only if you agree to arbitration – that’s not cool!  The US Constitution says you have a right to a jury trial!    Beware of what rights you may give up and if there are any hidden fees to enroll in the credit monitoring program.

5.  Get your credit report!  New accounts typically take 30-60 days to appear on your credit reports.  Under federal law, the Fair Credit Reporting Act gives consumers who believe they may be a victim of fraud or identity theft the right to a free credit report.

Call the credit bureaus fraud alert numbers and request your free credit report.

Experian – (888) 397-3742

Equifax – (800) 525-6285

Trans Union – (800) 680-7289

If you find inaccurate information or accounts that do not belong to you, then you should mail Experian, Equifax and Trans Union dispute letters.  Click HERE for a free sample dispute letter.

If you do not have any fraudulent accounts, then you can later request your free annual credit report from Equifax, Experian and Trans Union.  I suggest you request one report at a time, every 4 months, 1 bureau at a time.  That way, you never have to pay for the report!

These are just a few of the things you can do after receiving a breach notification letter.  If you have received a breach notification letter and discovered inaccurate information your credit report, you may be a victim of identity theft.  Contact identity theft attorney Micah Adkins for a free consultation and information kit on how to protect your identity.

If you are an attorney and you have been contacted by a client regarding a breach notification letter, or any other data security matter, contact Micah Adkins to discuss how we may assist you and your client.

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