Consumer Alert: Data Breach

April 7, 2011


AUGUSTA ? Due to several recent large data breaches, Attorney General William J. Schneider cautions Mainers to be alert to the possibility of scam emails asking them to confirm their private financial information.

?These data breaches may have provided scammers with the opportunity to try to trick Maine residents into providing their account information. Consumers may receive scam emails that look as though they are from a company they have done business with in the past, requesting that they respond by confirming their financial information,? says Schneider.

?Maine residents should be aware that none of the actual companies involved will send an email requesting information. Never reply to an email by giving your account numbers, social security number or other financial information,? warns the Attorney General.

In addition, Attorney General Schneider reminds residents of Maine that having their information in the hands of an unauthorized person does not necessarily mean that they have become a victim of identity theft. Identity theft does not occur until an unauthorized person fraudulently uses that information to secure money, goods or services in another person?s name.

A security freeze or ?file freeze? may be placed on an individual?s credit report as added protection against identity theft. With a freeze in place, the credit reporting agency may not release a credit report without the individual?s authorization. To place a security freeze on your credit file you must send a written request to the three major credit reporting agencies. The security freeze is provided at no charge to consumers who have been victims of identity theft.

Maine?s file freeze law is found at the following link:

Consumers who are concerned about data breaches may contact the Maine Office of the Attorney General Consumer Protection Division at 626-8800.

National credit reporting agency contact information is as follows:

Equifax PO Box 740241 Atlanta, GA 30374-0241 1-800-685-1111 For security freezes call 800-525-6285

Experian PO Box 2104 Allen, TX 75013-0949 1-888-397-3742 For security freezes call 888-397-3742

Trans Union PO Box 1000 Chester, PA 19022 1-800-916-8800 For security freezes call 800-680-7289

CONTACT: Brenda Kielty (207) 626-8577