The nation's largest bank, JP Morgan Chase, announced last week that hackers may have obtained the personal information of up to 76 million customers in a cyberattack this summer.
The bank denies that hackers were able to access account numbers, passwords, Social Security numbers, or birth dates, reports The Associated Press. The hackers were, however, able to gain access to customers' names, addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses -- information that may be used to commit identity theft.
What Can Consumers Do?
Consumers whose information may have been compromised by the hackers should be vigilant in watching out for signs of potential identity theft. They should also be wary of potential attempts to use the information stolen from Chase to obtain even more sensitive personal information.
Among the methods used by scammers to obtain personal data include:
May Increase Likelihood of Fraud
Chase is just the latest company to suffer a potentially harmful data breach. Last month, retailer Home Depot announced that payment data for up to 56 million customers may have been stolen by hackers.
With the rash of data breaches making your personal information available to scammers, consumers should be on the lookout for any suspicious activity when it comes to credit card accounts, including receiving credit cards for accounts that you never opened, or getting calls about purchases you didn't make. These may be signs that you have been a victim of fraud.
In addition, consumers may wish to get a copy of their credit report. The Free Credit Reporting Act allows consumers to obtain a free copy of their credit report once a year. Credit reports can be obtained online at the Annual Credit Report website, by calling (877) 322-8228, or by mailing Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281.