In light of the recent “celebrity hacker” scandal, “The Ralphie Show” reached out to LifeLock, Inc. for tips and insight in to not just preventing identity theft, but also recommended courses of action if your information is compromised.
From Hulk Hogan to the First Lady of the United States, the person behind this cyber-attack is sparing no one. Recent targets include R. Kelly, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and Bill Gates.
“If this can happen to Michelle Obama, it can happen to anyone,” wrote LifeLock Senior Director of Corporate Communications Tami Nealy in a statement to “The Ralphie Show.” Nealy shared these five tips for a situation in which you believe your identity is at risk:
1. Contact your local police department and file a police report.
You need to take action right away. Start by contacting your local police or sheriff’s department. Prepare and provide as much information as possible about what may have led to the identity theft, if you know.
2. Contact the credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, TransUnion) to report the incident.
Because many identity thieves are looking to take advantage of open lines of credit, the three major credit reporting agencies could play a large role in helping you recover from your stolen identity. You should contact one of the reporting agencies as soon as possible to have your credit account flagged with a fraud alert. This agency is then required by law to contact the other two. To contact the three major agencies, use the following numbers: Equifax: 800-525-6285 Experian: 888-397-3742 TransUnion: 800-680-7289
3. Check your bank and credit card accounts for unusual activity.
Your open accounts should be the first place that you turn once a data breach is detected. Timing is important when it comes to protecting your savings, and taking the right steps can keep you from losing hundreds or thousands of dollars.
4. File a report with the Federal Trade Commission.
Contact the Federal Trade Commission to file a report of an identity theft or identity fraud incident. Call with your complaint, 1-877-IDTHEFT or log on to file your complaint, www.ftc.gov
5. Change Your Password
Ensure that you have a password that is easy for you to remember but complex enough to keep out non-approved users. Your phone number or pet’s name is too easy to guess. Skilled hackers can break most passwords in a matter of seconds. An example of a strong password would be: Tbrat2013SBc! To remember: The baltimore ravens are the 2013 Super Bowl champions! Consider using a pass-phrase in place of a password, maybe even use a pass phrase, like “ChristieIsMyBestestFriend.”