I just received a letter in the mail stating that my name, address, and account number of a now-defunct account was posted online and accessed by a non-Chase employee before it was taken down.
In response, they’re offering me a year’s free membership in their Chase Identity Protection program. I simply have to submit my Social Security number with signature and all the previously leaked personal information to them by mail or fax. [Skeptical me says: really? so I can make sure that my personal information is disseminated again?]
The benefits of the program include:
- Continuous Credit Monitoring: Any changes in any of the three major reporting agencies will be monitored daily and I’ll be notified of any changes.
- Credit reports and scores: I’ll have access to my Experian credit report and score and the 3-in-1 credit report from all three agencies and their scores.
- Personal assistance: The program will take responsibility for disputing inaccuracies in my files, and they’ll also provide a Fraud Specialist in case my identity is stolen.
- Reimbursement Coverage: Subject to underwriting clauses, you may be reimbursed for up to $100,000 in eligible identity theft related expenses.
You’ll notice the most weasel language in the last and possibly most valuable almost-promise they make there. It’s unfortunate that you’re not guaranteed coverage, nor are you guaranteed blanket eligibility to all the financial damage that can be done by the potential fraud, they just might help you out.
Nevertheless, continuous monitoring and protection in this instance will be helpful, in addition to placing a 90-day fraud alert on my files.
If you need to place a fraud alert on your credit files, you only need to contact one agency and they’ll forward your information to the other two agencies. A fraud alert means that anyone trying to open credit in your name will have to verify their identity.
If things are more serious and you need to place a security freeze on your account, it’s free for any acknowledged identity theft victim in the state of California; there is a fee if you’re not considered a victim (by police report, usually). Check here for all other states.
It may also be a good idea to opt-out of all information-sharing with affiliates that the major companies you do business with frequently participate in; it’s good for them but just another risk for you.
In the meantime, I’ll be checking my credit report for any new suspicious activity. Be careful and be alert, folks, identity theft can be truly destructive if it’s not nipped in the bud.
[You can find my everyday writing over at A Gai Shan Life.]