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If your data was breached, your ID theft risk soars

Oct 28, 2009 | | Comments Comments Off

Cat Burglar Steve
Creative Commons License photo credit: Archie McPhee Seattle

Some critics disparage the database breach laws that force companies to reveal when your private personal information has been compromised. Only a small percentage of such stolen information is used to commit theft, they say.

Except if you’re a victim of a database breach, your risk of becoming an identity theft victim is four times higher than the that of the general population.

That is the conclusion of a new Javelin Strategy & Research study:

Overall, Javelin’s 2008 Identity Fraud Survey found that 4.32% of U.S. adults had experienced fraud within the past 12 months. Yet of the 11% that said they had been notified of a data breach within the past 12 months, one in five reported that they had also been the victim of some kind of fraud within the past 12 months. That means victims who had been notified of a data breach were almost four times more likely to be victims of fraud as well. The pattern of increased fraud victimization among consumers notified of a breach within the past 12 months remains consistent from 2006 to 2008, indicating that this is not a one-time anomaly.

If you’ve been notified that your data has been compromised, you should:

  • Closely monitor your existing accounts
  • Consider a credit freeze, particularly if your Social Security number was compromised
  • Otherwise, put a fraud alert on your credit reports.

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