The Arizona Attorney General’s office is urging Arizona T-Mobile customers and T-Mobile account applicants to take immediate action and place fraud alerts on their credit reports. More than 350,000 Arizonans may be affected by a data breach that exposed the personal information of approximately 15 million people who applied for T-Mobile service.
“Putting a fraud alert on your credit is the best way to protect yourself,” said Attorney General Mark Brnovich. “Consumers need to take extra steps to safeguard against identity theft when a social security number is stolen versus a stolen credit card number.”
A fraud alert is free and it makes it more difficult for identity thieves to open up additional accounts in your name. When you have an alert on your credit report, a business must verify your identity before it issues credit.
Experian, one of the nation’s largest credit reporting agencies, disclosed hackers broke into their database obtaining sensitive information on T-Mobile customers and potential customers. Social Security numbers, names, addresses, dates of birth, and identification numbers (such as driver’s license, passport number, or military ID) were reportedly exposed in the breach. According to Experian, the breach compromised data used by T-Mobile in connection with credit checks of customers who applied for T-Mobile services from September 1, 2013 through September 16, 2015. The stolen information could be used by identity thieves to open up new accounts in the victim’s name.
Consumers affected by the data breach should do one or more of the following:
Monitor your credit report – you are entitled to one free credit report from each of the three nationwide credit bureaus – Experian, Equifax and TransUnion – each year. You can request one free report from a different bureau every four months to monitor your credit report throughout the year.
Place a fraud alert on your credit report – unlike credit monitoring, which notifies individuals when activity has occurred on their credit records, a fraud alert is a preventive measure. When a fraud alert is in place, a merchant or other credit issuer checking the credit history of someone applying for credit gets a notice that there is a fraud alert. This alerts the merchant to take extra steps to verify the identity of the applicant. A fraud alert lasts 90 days and can be renewed. You can place a fraud alert with all three major credit bureaus by calling any one of the toll-free numbers listed below.
Place a security freeze on your credit report – a freeze prohibits the release of any information from your report without your express permission. A freeze costs $5 per credit bureau; it is free to victims of identity theft.
You can place a fraud alert or security freeze on your account by contacting the three major credit bureaus. You will reach an automated telephone system that allows you to flag your file with an alert. You will also be sent instructions on how to get a free copy of your report from each of the credit bureaus.
•Equifax – 1-888-766-0008 for fraud alerts or 1-800-349-9960 for credit freezes
•Experian – 1-888-397-3742
•TransUnion – 1-800-680-7289
Anyone impacted by the T-Mobile/Experian data breach can sign up for two years of free credit monitoring and identity theft resolution at www.protectmyID.com/securityincident.