On July 29th, Capital One announced “there was unauthorized access by an outside individual who obtained certain types of personal information relating to people who had applied for its credit card products and to Capital One credit card customers.” This breach affected approximately 100 million individuals in the U.S. and approximately 6 million in Canada.The good news is, the individual responsible has been arrested by the FBI and is presently in custody. According to a press release issued by Capital One, the company will be notifying affected individuals through a variety of means. It will also make free credit monitoring and identity protection available to everyone affected. (Additional information regarding both the breach and response is available here.)
The Wisconsin Bankers Association has further provided the following tips for consumers.
If you aren’t sure whether your account has been compromised:
- Check all of your accounts via online services provided by your bank or credit card provider(s) –and not just your Capital One account. If you don’t have access to, or haven’t set up, an online account, you can call the company directly for assistance in reviewing your activity. Consumers should be looking for any discrepancies in their purchasing habits. Be sure to do this over the next few months! Just because the bad guys have your information now, doesn’t mean they will use it immediately.
- Monitor your accounts closely and frequently. Balance your checkbook monthly, and match credit card statements with receipts. By viewing accounts online and checking throughout the month, you’ll be able to identify possible problems sooner.
- Review your credit report every three or four months. You are entitled to one free credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus per year. Request a single report from one of the bureaus every three or four months. By staggering these requests, you can monitor your credit throughout the year.
If you know that your information has been compromised:
- Contact the security departments of your creditors or bank to close the compromised account(s). Explain that you are a victim of identity theft, and that a particular card or account has been impacted. Ask them to provide documentation that the account has been closed. You should also follow up with a letter to the agency, documenting your request.
- Contact the three major credit bureaus (Experian, TransUnion, Equifax) via phone immediately to request that a fraud alert be placed on your file. Explain that you are a victim of identity theft and ask that they grant no new credit without your approval. Again, follow up with a letter to the agency, documenting your request.
- File a report with your local police department and request a copy of the report. This is good documentation to have on hand to prove that your identity has been stolen, as you begin the process of restoring your credit and good name.
- Document all of your actions, and keep copies of everything.
Whether you are sure or unsure that your financial information has been compromised, one of your first calls should be to your bank. They have a variety of resources available for customers that can help with situations like these. Their staff are also knowledgeable and more than willing to help.
State Bank of Cross Plains wants to remind you that an incident such as this presents an opportunity to scammers. Be alert to emails or phone calls pretending to be from Capital One or the government. Neither will send an email or call you to ask for credit card, account, or social security information. To learn more about protecting yourself after a data breach, visit www.identitytheft.gov/databreach.
You may request your free credit report online from www.annualcreditreport.com or by calling (877) 322-8228. In addition, you may contact the credit bureaus to request they place a free fraud alert or a free security freeze on your credit file. Each of the credit bureaus has a website with information on these options.
State Bank of Cross Plains also offers Credit Sense when you are enrolled in Online Banking. Credit Sense is free and, among its many useful features, offers credit monitoring alerts to notify you of changes to your credit report.