Tips for Consumers: Identity Theft Concerns

Tips for Consumers
Identity Theft Concerns

April 4, 2008-Baltimore, MD- In the wake of the recent security risk announced by Carefirst's The Dental Network, consumers have contacted Better Business Bureau of Greater MD for advice on where to turn to prevent ID Theft. On February 20, 2008, personal data including social security numbers of 75,000 members of Carefirst BlueCross BlueShield's The Dental Network plan were posted on a public Web site. Plan members were notified about the security breach three weeks after the postings initially went up.
Carefirst sent letters via air mail to all members affected by the leakage. However, many consumers continue to have concerns and wonder if they might be affected. BBB | Greater MD offers the following advice for those who think their personal information may have been compromised:
* Could I Be a Victim? First check your insurance plan. You are only at risk if you have The Dental Network through Carefirst. Simply being a Carefirst member does not put you at risk. Ensure you are a member of The Dental Network HMO before proceeding with the next steps.
* Who Can I Call? I.D. Safeguards is the company serving The Dental Network. Their contact number is 866.879.7402. Have your insurance membership card/number. The representatives can provide answers to questions concerning the security risk. The deadline for registering with Identity Safeguards is September 1, 2008.
* How is The Dental Network Helping? They are offering a no-charge one year identity protection service that will monitor your credit reports. You can enroll for this service through I.D. Safeguards. According to TDN, this includes 12 months of credit monitoring, as well as, an insurance reimbursement component of up to $30,000, and fraud restoration services in the unlikely event you experience identity fraud as a result of this incident.
Tips You Can Use to Secure Your Identity:
* What Can I Do To Protect Myself from I.D. Fraud? Immediately call the credit bureau and place an alert on your credit reports. You only need to notify one of the bureaus - they are required to notify the other two. Also, view your credit report (www.annualcreditreport.com) to ensure there has been no suspicious activity lately - like the opening of new accounts. You are entitled to one free credit report from each of the bureaus throughout the calendar year.
* Can I Freeze My Credit Report? You may place a security freeze on your account for a $5 fee with each of the three bureaus. You must contact each bureau separately. The freeze takes three days to go into effect, but will prevent anyone (including you) from opening an account through your credit report. You may remove the freeze by contacting the bureaus directly. There is a $5 freeze per bureau to remove the freeze.
The three major credit bureaus:
Equifax: 800-685-1111, http://www.equifax.com
Experian: 888-322-5583, www.experian.com
Transunion: 800-888-4213, http://www.transunion.com

BBB | Greater MD urges consumers to always be mindful of the risk of identity theft. Take advantage of your right to review your credit report for free with each of the credit bureaus above once each year. For pre-purchase information and to check a company's Reliability Report visit www.bbb.org