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The Real Deal: Breach Aftermath

Updated: Thursday, February 20 2014, 05:50 PM EST
ALBANY –It's not uncommon to use our credit or debit card several times a day but following those massive breaches at Target, the Marriot Hotels and even locally at the Desmond, we're now all on high alert.  Stores, restaurants and hotels all protect our information in different ways but there are a number of steps you can take on your own to ensure you're doing what you can to protect against identity theft.
More than 820 million records were exposed in 2013 in security breaches which is an all-time record.  If it was your information that was compromised, chances are you've been paying close attention to your bank statements.  "It does concern me, I think they need more security definitely," says Colleen Ellison of Glenville.   Paula Oshea also gets worried about using her card, "I actually work for a bank so I know what it can do when someone comes in and they've got all these fraud charges on their account and it can mess someone up pretty bad, so yea, I'm pretty cautious of what kind of information I give out and to who," she tells CBS6.
Aside from keeping an eye on your accounts, you should also be checking your credit report regularly.  Everyone is entitled to one free copy from each of the three major credit reporting agencies once a year.  You can get your copy at  "I would recommend spreading them out over the course of the year, that way you're able to check your credit history more accurately as it updates frequently," says Michael Ibanez a credit counselor at Clearpoint Credit Counseling in Albany.
Often, when scammers get their hands on your personal information, they look to open up accounts in your name so when you have your report in hand, first be sure to make sure all the personal information is accurate.  "Beyond that, you're looking to see if there's any credit card accounts that have been opened, or utility accounts that have been opened under your name, even if not fraudulently, they could in there inaccurately in which case you'd want to fix those errors right away," Ibanez says.
Disputing something on your report can be done right online and the credit bureaus have 30 days to respond.  "It can be a serious implication on your ability to go out and obtain new credit if there is bad information on there so make sure you pay very close," Ibanez says.  If the Bureaus can't prove the account is truly yours, it has to be wiped off your report. 
The Real Deal: Breach Aftermath

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Hello and thank you for stopping by The Real Deal web-page! I'm hoping you'll find some useful information here. I (Jennifer Lewke) will be updating this page daily to bring you the latest news on anything and everything that may impact your wallet. Whether it's a bad business trying to rip you off, a contractor who took your money and ran, the government wasting your tax dollars, or a telemarketer who just won't stop calling, my goal is to uncover it and hopefully prevent it from happening again!

On the right-hand side of this page, you'll see a section labled "Links" --these will all take you to websites for organizations that help protect consumers. Most of the groups have the authority to fine or shut down bad businesses so it's important to file the proper complaints to get some action.

I'm happy to look into any issue you have to get you the Real Deal. You can reach me anytime at (518) 381-4992 or by email at I hope to hear from you soon!

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