Prevent a security breach from hurting you

Fear not Hannaford customers, as long as you act quickly and responsibly, you can recover your financial future.

Supermarket chain Hannaford Bros. announced earlier this week that the company had experienced a security breach potentially exposing more than four million credit card numbers, debit card numbers and expiration dates. And while the supermarket chain says that it is working with credit and debit card companies to make things right, customers are probably wondering what kind of risk they face and what they need to do right now.

According to the Federal Trade Commission:

1. Place a Fraud alert on your credit report, and review your credit reports.

2.Close the accounts that you know, or believe, have been tampered with or opened fraudulently.

3. File a complaint with the FTC.

4. File a report with your local police or the police in the community where the identity theft took place.

Says Jay Foley, founder of the Identity Theft Resource Center:

"Any individuals who have been exposed need to close their accounts and get new cards. Credit card users can contact their providers and ask for the card to be canceled because of fraudulent activity. But, debit card users may have to cancel multiple accounts. If your debit card is attached to a checking account which is also linked to a savings account you will have to go to the bank and close both and set up new accounts. Credit cards will be canceled immediately and debit cards will be canceled as soon as the bank processes the request."

Says Jay Hopkins, a spokesperson for Visa:

"It is important for U.S. Visa consumer cardholders to know that they are protected against fraudulent purchases with Visa's zero liability fraud protection policy. As always, Visa encourages cardholders to regularly monitor their accounts and to notify their issuing bank promptly of any unusual activity. Additional consumer security tips are available at www.visa.com.

For more on what to do to prevent identity theft from happening to you, read my related article at Mainstreet.com, and check out WalletPop's coverage of the topic here.


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