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Consumer Action Handbook

Many of you have e-mailed your concerns regarding the recent hack into an MU database where the personal information of 22,000 people was recently compromised. I don’t want to focus a lot of time/attention on this since I dealt with the issue about 6 weeks ago in a tip, but I wanted to remind you of what you should be doing if you find yourself in the middle of this …

  • Review the information from the financial tip dated 3/22
  • Think twice before buying the theft protection services that are sold.
  • Review your credit reports. Even if you’ve already received your free report(s) for this year, as a potential fraud victim, you are entitled to free credit reports [for fraud]. Contact the three credit reporting agencies (Experian.com, Equifax.com, TransUnion.com) to order the free reports.
  • Place fraud alerts on your reports (https://www.annualcreditreport.com) click on ‘fraud alert.’
  • If you live outside of Missouri, you may be eligible for a credit freeze [Missouri has considered a bill but has not acted upon one yet]; read the tip mentioned above and you can find out if your state has a law in place.
  • I would review my credit report monthly for the next 3-6 months. In most instances, activity that occurs will not show up immediately.
  • Go to StolenIDSearch.com. You can enter your SSN and it searches a database of nearly 2.5 million compromised numbers. It will tell you if yours has been compromised or not. Secure site.

The Consumer Action Handbook, first published in 1979, is one of the most helpful and popular consumer resources. The free guide is designed to help consumers find the best and most direct source for assistance with their consumer problems and questions. Tips are offered on such topics as banking, making purchases (buying and leasing cars, housing), protecting against fraud, insurance, and resolving marketplace problems (includes sample complaint letters). Thousands of contacts for Better Business Bureaus; federal, state, county, and city government consumer protection offices are also provided.

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