12/02/2014

Data Breaches and Identity Theft

Several high-profile data breaches of retailers have occurred recently, so this holiday shopping season, be aware of how to protect yourself and your money.  Several state publications can help you prepare or recover from data breaches and/or identity theft.

What should I do if a data breach occurs at a place I have shopped or done business?
The Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has prepared a fact sheet, Tips Following a Data BreachHere you can find out about who to contact, whether you should opt for a credit freeze, and what kinds of suspicious activity to look for.  You can also find out more about credit freezes in CBI's fact sheet How to Place a Freeze on Your Credit.

What can I do to protect myself from identity theft?
Carefully monitoring your credit and bank accounts is the best way to detect identity theft.  The CBI suggests you obtain and check your credit reports annually; they explain how in their Credit Reports fact sheet.  Also be sure to monitor your bank statements and your credit card transactions for any suspicious charges or withdrawals.

I own or manage a business.  How can I protect my customers' or clients' information?
The Colorado Attorney General's Office has published two helpful guides on identity theft for businesses:  Protecting Personal Information:  A Guide for Business and the Business Identity Theft Resource Guide.

My identity has been stolen.  Now what?
The Identity Theft Repair Kit from the Colorado Attorney General's Office gives step-by-step instructions for what to do if your identity is stolen.  The kit is available online in both English and Spanish and can also be checked out in hard copy from our library.  The AG's office has also issued a new website, www.stopfraudcolorado.gov, which includes an Identity Theft page with links and steps to take if you have been victimized.

How do I protect myself when doing business online?
The Stop Fraud Colorado website also includes a page on Digital Fraud, where you can find information on how to know if your account is in jeopardy; protect yourself against phishing and other email scams; protect yourself on Facebook; reduce spam; report digital fraud; and secure the data on your smart phone. 

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