It can be unnerving to be told that your information has been compromised in a breach. There are some steps you should take upon receiving a breach notification letter. Your response to a breach will depend on the type of information that was compromised. Until you know otherwise, you are NOT an identity theft victim.
As you are aware, we are working with eCellar in assisting those consumers whose information was recently compromised in a data breach incident.
What we know:
- The intruder gained access to customer names, credit/debit card numbers, the related billing addresses, and any dates of birth in the eCellar payment portal system during the window of April this year.
- The intruder did not have access to any driver license numbers, Social Security numbers, CVV verification numbers, or PIN numbers.
What you can do:
- Monitor your credit and bank statements closely and look for any unauthorized activity. Review each item, and keep an eye out for small dollar transactions, including amounts as small as 99 cents.
- If you notice any fraudulent charges on your credit card or debit card, contact your financial institution (bank/credit union or credit card issuer) immediately. Inform them the charges are fraudulent and they will walk you through their remediation process. Each financial institution has a different process and each has a different window of time for the reporting of fraudulent activity. It is important to report activity right away.
- Contact law enforcement to file a report for any fraudulent activity.
- Password-protect all your accounts, the active ones as well as those that are closed. This restricts thieves from re-opening closed accounts and this protection is available at many institutions.
- Contact your card issuer/financial institution and ask them for information regarding the specific process they employ to assist customers in this situation. Many institutions have additional fraud detection and notification processes that can be activated upon customer request.
- Close ONLY the financial account with fraudulent activity.
- In an abundance of caution, you may order your credit report for free from all three credit bureaus, which you are entitled to do at least once per year. You can do so online at www.annualcreditreport.com or by phone at 1(877) 322-8228.
What this means to you:
- Social Security numbers were not compromised: While it is generally a good idea to remain vigilant and up to date about activity on your credit report, since Social Security Numbers were not exposed in this breach, it is unlikely that a thief could open a new account in your name. Fraudulent charges on your credit card will not show up on your credit report, only requests for new lines of credit.
- A compromise of payment information means that an unauthorized person(s) now has access to this information and could potentially use this information to make fraudulent purchases on the account(s) that were compromised.
- PIN numbers were not compromised. This means that if you used a debit card, the unauthorized person(s) do not have the PIN number and therefore cannot use the card at an ATM for cash. However, if your debit card has a Visa or MasterCard logo on it, then the card number could be used to make purchases from your bank account in the same manner as a credit card.
Why do you keep telling me to contact my financial institution?
- Financial institutions are well aware of the increasing frequency of data breach incidents such as has occurred in this situation. Typically, there is a mechanism in place to assist their customers in such circumstances, as well as sophisticated fraud monitoring tools in place.
- Once you notify your bank of any fraudulent charges on your credit card/s, you will generally not be held liable for those charges.
- If it was a debit card, you will not have the same protections and liability limitations that you do with a credit card. Review the Terms & Conditions at your bank/financial institution to ensure you understand what your liabilities are regarding fraudulent activity on those accounts.
- It is important that you contact your financial institution as quickly as possible once you notice any fraudulent activity. In most cases, you have limited time available to report the fraud.
Should you become a victim of identity theft:
Contact the ITRC by calling the toll-free 888-400-5530 number, 24 hours a day / 7 days a week,