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LITTLE ROCK – Marriott and the United States Postal Service are just two of the recent companies that have announced data breaches, putting private consumer information at risk. The Attorney General’s Office has received a number of calls from concerned Arkansans, and Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge encourages Arkansans who feel their information may have been compromised to contact the office at ArkansasAG.gov.
“Arkansans’ identities have been put at risk due to these data breaches,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “I urge anyone with questions, or anyone who has been notified that your information was compromised, to please contact my office because I am here to do the fighting for you.”
Identity theft becomes a major concern following data breaches whether consumers utilize computers directly or not. Identity theft occurs when an unauthorized individual uses another person’s information to commit fraud or other crimes, most commonly to obtain access to credit in the victim’s name. If successful, scammers can severely damage the victim’s credit and steal his or her hard-earned money.
Attorney General Rutledge released the following tips to help Arkansans recognize when they might be a victim of identity theft:
• Receiving unexpected bills or collection calls. Getting an account statement for an unauthorized account is an indication that an individual may be the victim of identity theft. Likewise, getting collection calls from a creditor or debt collector regarding an unauthorized account is an indication of potential identity theft.
• Not receiving expected bills or account statements. If a monthly credit card statement stops, this could be an indication that someone has stolen mail or changed an account statement mailing address. Promptly report this to the account provider.
• Having a credit application denied when there is no reason to believe there is a problem with the credit history. Be sure to periodically review the credit report, and always review it again before making an application for credit on a big purchase.
If you have been a victim of identity theft, close accounts that have been tampered with or fraudulently opened, and file a complaint with the FTC. The Attorney General’s office also offers an ID Theft Passport to help victims reestablish their good name, which requires that consumers first file a police report for financial identity theft.
For more information about other common scams and consumer-related issues, please call the Arkansas Attorney General’s office at (800) 482-8982 or visit ArkansasAG.gov or facebook.com/AGLeslieRutledge.