A security breach or data breach is one of the most common causes of the disclosure of personal information. These breaches can expose the personal information of a few thousands, or even millions of individuals. It occurs when personal or otherwise sensitive information that is maintained by an entity is accessed in an unauthorized manner or when that information is inadvertently exposed. Such an incident certainly increases one’s risk of identity theft. However, it should be noted that not all personal information compromises result in identity theft.
The Arkansas Personal Information Protection Act requires entities that collect personal information to use reasonable security procedures and practices to protect such information. Additionally, the law mandates that in the event such information is compromised, the entity must notify the affected individuals in a timely manner. Notification to individuals whose personal information has been compromised allows them to take steps to mitigate the potential misuse of their information.
The Arkansas Personal Information Protection Act was recently amended to require that a breach be reported to the Arkansas Attorney General if the breach affects the personal information of more than 1,000 individuals and the reporting entity determines that there is a reasonable likelihood of harm to consumers.
Although it is not required by Arkansas law, many businesses that experience a security breach will offer credit monitoring services at no charge to affected individuals usually for one year. Credit monitoring can be useful in this context; however, it is entirely up to the consumer whether he or she wants to take advantage of such an offer.
What should I do if I receive a security breach notification?
- If the compromised information relates to existing financial accounts, contact your financial institution to close or change the account information as soon as possible.
- Consider placing a fraud alert on your credit bureau reports.
- Consider placing a security freeze on your credit bureau reports.
- Periodically monitor your credit bureau reports for any unusual activity and check for accuracy. Everyone is allowed one free credit report per year from each of the three major credit bureaus. To learn how to obtain your free annual credit report under federal law, visit AnnualCreditReport.com or call (877) 322-8228. A victim of fraud is eligible to receive one free credit report from each of the major credit bureaus. Requests for a free report based on a fraud claim should be made directly to the credit bureaus:
Equifax data breach settlement
On July 22, 2019, the Office of the Arkansas Attorney General, along with 47 state Attorneys General, and the Attorneys General of Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C., announced a historic $600 million settlement with Equifax concerning the 2017 Equifax data breach affecting over 147 million Americans. Read the news release.
Read the September 13, 2017 Consumer Alert.
- Visit EquifaxBreachSettlement.com for information about the settlement and to view associated documents.
- Consumers may call the Equifaxcall settlement administrator at (833) 759-2982 with any questions.