FAQ: My Employer’s electronic payroll system was recently breached. The system had my social security number, bank account number used for direct deposit and my home address and number. Should I be concerned?
You and every person whose personal information was in your employer’s system should be worried about identity theft. Identity theft is a growing crime which 9 million people fall victim to every year. The FBI also estimates that businesses lose over $65 million every year because of this crime.
Identity theft occurs when someone used your name and personal information, such as your address and social security number to open up accounts or credit cards. If you don’t take quick action, an identity thief can charge thousands on credit cards opened under your name. Take the following steps to stop any further credit damage:
1) Your first step of action should be to place a fraud alert on your credit reports. This will stop the identity thief from opening up any more accounts under your name. An initial alert on your credit report allows you to order one free credit report from each of the 3 national consumer reporting companies. The initial fraud alert will stay on your credit report for 90 days. For example, if your wallet has been stolen, the 90 days will give you enough time to cancel your old credit cards and get a new driver’s license. To place a fraud alert, contact one of the following companies which will then notify the other two companies to place a fraud alert on your credit report:
Fraud Victim Assistance Division P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92834-6790 1-800-680-7289
Equifax P.O. Box 740241 Atlanta, GA 30374 1-888-766-0008
Experian P.O. Box 9532 Allen, TX 75013 1-888-397-3742
2) For every account you have, call someone in the fraud department and close all accounts that have been tampered with or might have been fraudulently accessed. Make sure you follow up with a letter to the credit card company confirming that your account was closed due to identity theft.
3) File an Identity Theft Report with your local police department. This is a police report which contains more information than a typical police report. It contains enough information about the identity theft so that the credit reporting companies and businesses can verify that you were the victim. Bring all your evidence such as credit card statements or bills containing items that you did not purchase which shows that someone has been using your identity. Filing a report with the police department is very important because it will show your creditors that you are a victim of identity theft. Without the police report, a creditor might still require you to pay off the balance charged by the identity thief.
Once you have filed an Identity Theft Report, you should send a copy to the credit reporting companies and the credit card companies or businesses involved in the identity theft. By sending them the report, the credit reporting companies will permanently block fraudulent information from showing up on your credit report. The Report will also help you fight off creditors trying to collect debts that arose from the identity theft. The Report also allows you to extend the fraud alert on your credit report from 90 days to 7 years.
4) You should also file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) by writing to the following:
Identity Theft Clearinghouse Federal Trade Commission 600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW Washington, DC 20580, 1-877-438-4338
By reporting your complaint to the FTC, you will be helping law enforcement track down identity thieves and making sure they don’t steal more identities.
Identity theft is a growing problem in this country. In this day and age, it is crucial to safeguard your personal information, especially your social security number. If you have been a victim of identity theft, call our Identity Theft Attorneys at Villanueva & Sanchala at (800) 893-9645 to help you get your identity back.
Thank you for visiting our Blog. This blog provides general information and thoughts about various employment law issues primarily in the New York Tri-State area and occasionally in other areas. You are welcome to read the posts. However, do not construe any content on this blog as legal advice or the creation of an attorney-client relationship. Again, we provide the content only for informational purposes. You should not make decisions based information on our blog since the application of the law depends on the facts and each situation may be different. In addition, the law in most jurisdictions is different and changes constantly and we make no representations that any information on our blog has been updated. The Blog should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from an experienced employment law attorney in your state or jurisdiction.