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CBA Consumer Alert: Data Breaches
Washington, D.C. (September 9, 2014) – In today’s global economy consumers can purchase products anywhere, at any time, online, or in person. Unfortunately, this means criminals have evolved as well. Consumers should be aware of cyber threats and remain vigilant in guarding their personal data. Data breaches may result in the compromising of credit or debit card information, in addition to personally identifying data such as home and email addresses. Consumers should take the following steps to ensure their finances are guarded:
- Monitor Your Accounts: Regularly monitoring your account activity is the best way to help detect if you have been a victim of fraud. If your financial institution offers mobile or online banking, take advantage of this to avoid the wait time of receiving paper statements in the mail. If you receive your statements in the mail, review your statement as soon as possible after it is delivered and immediately report any fraudulent transactions. Also regularly check your credit reports for any inaccurate or suspicious information.
- Report Suspicious Charges Immediately: Call your financial institution immediately if you find a suspicious or unauthorized charge on your account. These charges can range from a small amount to test a card’s authenticity, to several thousand dollars. Your financial institution will work with you to ensure fraudulent charges are handled appropriately, and issue you a new credit or debit card if need be.
- Place a Fraud Alert on Your Credit Report: There are three national credit reporting companies which record your personal financial information - Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. If your personal financial information has been used improperly, call one of the companies and place a free fraud alert on your credit report. The credit reporting company will alert the other two companies.
- Change Your Passwords: Regularly changing your passwords is an easy way to stay one step ahead of cybercriminals. Make sure your passwords are case sensitive, and contain numbers, letters, and symbols. Do not share your passwords with others.
- Consider an Identity Theft Protection Service: A number of companies specialize in monitoring your credit reports and accounts for you. They will flag any suspicious activity and help keep your financial information secure in the event of a breach. Consider signing up with a verified and reputable company to help stay a step ahead of cyber-criminals.
The Consumer Bankers Association (CBA) is the trade association for today's leaders in retail banking - banking services geared toward consumers and small businesses. The nation's largest financial institutions, as well as many regional banks, are CBA corporate members, collectively holding two-thirds of the industry's total assets. CBA’s mission is to preserve and promote the retail banking industry as it strives to fulfill the financial needs of the American consumer and small business.
The Consumer Bankers Association is the recognized voice on retail banking issues in the nation’s capital. Founded in 1919, CBA provides leadership, education, research and federal representation on retail banking issues. For more information, please contact Tom Crosson, firstname.lastname@example.org, (703) 869-1246 or visit www.consumerbankers.com.