CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Millions of Americans are victims of data breaches. If your information has been compromised, hackers can essentially be you if they have your social security number, birthday or any other information you may have entered online.
22News spoke with Milagros Johnson of Springfield Mayor’s Office of Consumer Information. She said you should treat online identity theft as any other crime: report it immediately.
“The first thing to do is to definitely check the credit report, place the fraud report, notify the police department and get a police report because you need to have it documented that it is proof you are a victim of identity theft.” She also said credit reports don’t just offer you a credit score, but also all of your credit information.
If you don’t like to open many credit accounts, you can opt to freeze your credit report. That way, anyone with your information can’t open loans or make charges.
A fraud alert stays on file for 90 days: Johnson recommends extending it for 7 years if you don’t know who stole your information. Another option is credit monitoring; some banks and credit companies offer it for free, or reduced rates.