The Justice Department today announced that 3 men have been indicted in what the Department of Justice calls “the single largest hacking and identity theft case ever prosecuted.” Authorities say more than 130 million credit and debit card numbers were stolen.
If you believe that you are a victim and there are fraudulent charges on your existing credit account, contact your creditor immediately about the activity both by telephone and then with a follow-up letter expressly stating the problem.
Federal regulations require credit card companies to remove disputed items from your bill in order to investigate. It is important to note, that all disputes must be put in writing.
Immediately call the fraud help lines of each of the three major credit bureaus to inform them of the situation. Be sure to tell the credit bureaus to flag your file with a fraud alertincluding a statement that creditors should call you for permission before opening any new accounts in your name.
Trans Union Fraud Victim Assistance Department
P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92834
Experian Consumer Fraud Assistance
P.O. Box 9556, Allen, TX 75013
Equifax Consumer Fraud Division
P.O. Box 740256, Atlanta, GA 30374
Under federal law, victims of fraud are entitled to receive a free copy of their credit reports. It is advisable that you exercise this right immediately.
Inquire into the credit bureau’s procedures for having a statement attached to fraudulent information in your file so that future potential creditors are aware of this.
Place a security freeze on your file to prevent further damage to your credit history.
The Federal Trade Commission offers assistance to identity theft victims at (877) IDTHEFT or www.consumer.gov/idtheft.
For additional information, including frequently asked questions and sample letters to send to the credit bureaus visit the website of the New York State Consumer Protection Board at www.nysconsumer.gov