If you used a budget travel site to book your vacation, take note: Your data might be compromised.
On March 20, Orbitz announced that it was the target of a cybersecurity attack potentially affecting 880,000 people. Hackers were able to access information such as names, birthdates, phone numbers, and email and billing addresses.
If you’re one of the thousands affected, here’s what you need to know about the Orbitz credit card data breach and what you can do to protect yourself.
What’s the Orbitz credit card data breach?
According to Orbitz, the breach likely occurred between Jan. 1, 2016, and Dec. 22, 2017. Hackers were able to steal information about customers’ payment cards and their personal data. However, Social Security numbers were not affected.
The Orbitz credit card data breach doesn’t impact just Orbitz customers. Because the company provides a backend booking system for companies such as American Express, other customers could also be affected.
How the hackers got the information is unclear.
“To date, we do not have direct evidence that this personal information was actually taken from the platform and there has been no evidence of access to other types of personal information, including passport and travel itinerary information,” Orbitz said in a statement to Reuters.
How to find out if you’re affected
Orbitz said that the breach occurred between 2016 and 2017. If you used Orbitz or one of its partners, such as AmEx Travel, during or before that period, hackers might have accessed your information. Orbitz will notify affected individuals.
What you should do next
Because so many credit cards were hacked, it’s important to take action now to protect yourself from identity theft and fraudulent charges. Follow these three steps to foil thieves’ attempts to use your information:
1. Place a fraud alert on your credit report
If you used Orbitz or one of its partners to book travel, there’s a chance your information is compromised. You can protect your credit by placing a fraud alert on your credit report.
When you put a fraud alert on your account, it lets lenders and creditors know that your information is at risk. Any creditor who wants to access your credit report needs to take additional steps to verify your identity before they extend any offers for a loan or credit card. This approach can prevent thieves from opening new accounts in your name.
Placing a fraud alert on your account is free. You can set an alert for 90 days or up to seven years, depending on your needs.
To place a fraud alert on your account, contact any of the three credit reporting agencies:
If you contact one of them, the agency is responsible for notifying the other two.
2. Sign up for identity protection
Due to the data breach, Orbitz is offering a year of free identity protection services and credit monitoring.
If you don’t qualify for free identity protection through Orbitz, or if you want additional protection to be on the safe side, it’s a good idea to find another company that provides identity monitoring services.
Credit Karma now offers free identity protection, for example. It notifies you when your information might be compromised and helps you create a plan to reduce your risk of fraud.
3. Monitor your credit
Even if you use identity and credit monitoring services, it’s wise to review your credit report regularly, too. You can request a copy of your credit report from each of the three credit reporting agencies for free once a year at AnnualCreditReport.com.
One strategy to consider is to request a copy from a different credit reporting agency every four months. That helps ensure you have the latest information throughout the year.
When you get your credit report, read it carefully to ensure every account listed is legitimate. If you see any discrepancies, such as a credit card you didn’t open, notify both the company behind the account and the credit reporting agencies right away. If you’re not sure what to look for, this article on how to read your credit report can help.
Protecting your information
If your personal information is compromised, it’s essential that you remain vigilant. Hackers and thieves don’t always use stolen information right away; they sometimes wait months before using your information to open new accounts or make charges. Keep an eye on your credit report, check your billing statements, and monitor your credit cards to stay safe.
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