With Mobile Transactions Comes Mobile Fraud
With the increase of mobile commerce brings a parallel increase in fraudulent mobile transactions,...
In short, yes, you should be worried – but not too much.
Although no credit card or bank information was stolen in this hack, all the information a criminal would need to accomplish various fraudulent activities – such as opening credit card accounts or applying for bank loans – was stolen. What this means is that if your stolen identity is going to be used by criminals, you might not notice any fraudulent activity in your name until days, weeks, maybe even months down the road.
Thankfully, however, since your credit and bank information were not stolen, you do not need to worry about closing the credit card and bank accounts you already have.
Experian has offered two years of free credit monitoring and identity theft protection to those affected by this hack. Although a nice gesture, the irony remains that those who have had their identities stolen will need to give additional personal information to the very same company that got hacked in order to “protect” their identities through that company. Furthering the irony, Experian published a press release on September 22, 2015 (a week after the hack was discovered and nine days before reporting the hack) entitled “Experian Data Breach Resolution releases its Annual 2015-2016 Data Breach Response Guide” and, on September 30, 2015, hosted a session called “Not Your Everyday Breach: Managing Incidents with Unique Circumstances” at the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP) Conference.
Even John Legere, the CEO of T-Mobile, senses the irony and is currently working on finding an alternative to Experian for affected customers:
I hear you re: Experian as service protection option. I am moving as fast as possible to get an alternate option in place by tomorrow.— John Legere (@JohnLegere) October 1, 2015
Although you may feel powerless if your identity has potentially been stolen, you can still take any or all of the following steps to secure your identity through credit reporting companies – it is better to do something than nothing in this case:
You should be aware that monitoring your accounts for fraudulent activity is a defensive move: it doesn’t stop fraud happening under your name in the first place. If a flag is raised while monitoring your identity and accounts, it is too late: your identity has been already been compromised. With credit monitoring, the credit monitoring company will alert you of questionable activity and investigate if requested. Depending on the credit bureau, the alleged fraudulent activity should remain hidden from view from future creditors (so you can continue your own credit-related activities without being affected) until the matter is resolved.
One final note about the hack: affected customers of the hack should be aware that neither T-Mobile nor Experian will, in regards to the hack:
Under no circumstances should you give out any personal information to anyone who contacts you using the aforementioned methods. Experian, however, will be sending (snail) mail out to all affected individuals by November 30, 2015.
Additional, official information and announcements about the hack: