A mix-up resulted in tens of thousands of mailers being sent out with Social Security numbers printed on the outside of the envelope. According to a report in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, there are more than 24,000 members of a pension fund potentially endangered, but officials are keeping mum about how many mailers they sent.
This instance provides criminals with everything they need to commit identity theft: name, address and Social Security number.
There are a number of things to do in the event of a data breach.
Check Your Monthly Financial Documents
• The first thing someone should do to ensure they do not become an identity theft victim is check their monthly financial documents such as bank statements and credit card bills. If there are any unexpected charges or unfamiliar transactions.
• Check your credit report for discrepancies. Consider putting a fraud warning on your credit report. Doing so will alert companies that there is a potential for identity theft, and they should be careful to verify the information of the person using it.
• Notice: Not checking the credit report will leave you open to the threat of identity theft. A criminal could have opened an account in your name, and you would be none the wiser. Monitoring your credit report is a vital aspect of protecting yourself from identity theft quickly.
• Consider enrolling in a credit monitoring service. Often companies will provide the persons impacted by the data breach with credit monitoring. Credit monitoring can help you combat identity theft, because it gives your 24/7 access to your credit report. Allowing you to see how your personal information has been used to create financial accounts.
It's important not to let your guard down just because a few weeks have passed without incident. It could take a criminal months to use the personal information to commit identity theft.