Safeguard your identity after severe storm damage

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If your home suffered damage during the recent severe storms in north Alabama, it’s important to be vigilant when hiring a contractor for home repairs, but there is something else to consider. If your home suffered significant damage and you lost personal belongings, you may no longer have all of your credit cards or personal papers that contain your Social Security number or bank account numbers. You may be at risk for identity theft.

How do you safeguard yourself from identity theft in this situation? Below are steps to take right away.

  • Contact the three Credit Reporting agencies – Transunion, Equifax, and Experian – to place a fraud alert on all your account.
  • Notify your bank and credit card companies of your situation.
  • If you normally do online banking or manage your credit card accounts online, place alerts on each account so that you will be notified by email or text of any transaction, based on the parameters you set.
  • Be sure to check your credit reports over the next several months to be sure that there is no fraudulent activity on your accounts.

For more information on how to recover from identity theft, go to www.idtheft.gov.

For tips on hiring a home repair contractor and avoiding storm chasers, check out Do Your Homework When Hiring Disaster Repair Services and BBB Tip On: “Storm Chasers” After a Natural Disaster.

To report a scam, go to the BBB Scam Tracker. To find trustworthy businesses, go to bbb.org.