Recent ID Theft Developments

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February 16, 2007 LITTLE ROCK Recently, TJX, the parent company of retail outlets such as TJ Maxx and HomeGoods, discovered that a database housing customer financial records had been compromised. While the extent of the data breach is still not known, it appears that hackers may have accessed the debit and credit card numbers of tens of millions of consumers. The Office of the Arkansas Attorney General is working with other Attorneys General to investigate this data security breach. The goal of the investigation is to more definitively identify affected consumers and to initiate measures to further protect personal financial information. While the investigation is underway, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel issued this consumer alert to help Arkansans detect and report identity theft. Three signs that you may be a victim of identity theft: 1) Your credit card statement contains unfamiliar or unsolicited purchases; 2) You are denied credit for no apparent reason; or3) You receive phone calls or letters about purchases you did not make. If you have experienced any of the above, review your bank and financial activity carefully. Make a list of any fraudulent charges, carefully noting the date and time of the charge and where the charge occurred, to isolate any patterns that may surface. Even if you have not had any warning signs, we recommend that you check your credit report regularly to monitor for evidence of potential identity theft. The law requires that the 3 major credit reporting agenciesExperian, Equifax and TransUnionprovide you with a free copy of your credit report each year upon request. Visit www.annualcreditreport.com to order your free copy. After following the above steps, if you believe you are a victim of identity theft, gather all supporting evidence and file a police report. Remember to place a fraud-alert on your credit report by contacting the credit reporting agencies listed above, and cancel any accounts you believe have been compromised.Finally, you should file a complaint with the Public Protection Department of the Attorney General's Office by calling 501-682-2341 and file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission by calling 877-438-4338. By filing complaints, you help investigators in Arkansas and across the country track consumers who have unknowingly become victims of identity theft, and once caught, the information you provide helps prosecutors punish the criminals appropriately.