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On the heels of several other large security breaches, including one involving Gmail and another concerning Sony’s PlayStation Network, comes the hack of Citi’s credit card servers. Thousands of users’ information was compromised, forcing Citi to send out tons of new credit cards. Below are some key facts about the leak, followed by important information for those that were affected.
- 360,000 accounts, including ones that were already closed, were potentially accessed
- 217,000 new credit cards were issued
- About 1% of Citi’s customers were affected
- Names, account numbers, and contact information were obtained
- Social Security numbers and card security codes were not
- Debit card information was reportedly not accessed either
The answer is, you don’t have to. Citi will (and already has, in most cases) notify you. If you haven’t received a new card with a new account number in the mail, and if you have logged into your Citi online credit card account without a message popping up, telling you your information was obtained, then you are probably safe.
If you’re one of the unlucky ones, there are a couple of things you can do. Besides the usual suspects, such as monitoring your credit reports, you should be wary of anyone who contacts you in the near future asking for personal information. Since your email address was obtained, don’t open any suspicious-looking emails, and definitely don’t give out your new account number in an email.
If you saw the alert on your Citi account but haven’t received your new card yet, Citi says you can continue to use your old card until you receive and activate the new one. If you have received the new one, you can cut up your old card and throw it in the trash.
You may also be able to receive free credit monitoring from Citi if you ask. When you call to activate your new card, press the number to speak to a live representative, and ask about their credit monitoring program. One cardmember was able to get a 6 month free membership to Identity Guard, which protects you against identity theft and helps you restore your finances if your identity is stolen. If you speak to the right person, you may be able to receive a free membership also.
Thankfully, Citi’s recent attack seems to be under control. They know which accounts were accessed, and they changed the account numbers so the credit cards couldn’t be used fraudulently. No reports of Citi users’ identities being stolen have come forward yet. In addition, according to news reports, not much information got out that could harm consumers such as social security numbers or passwords that cardmembers may have used elsewhere. As long as Citi takes the hint and invests more time and money into security so this doesn’t happen again, its cardmembers should be relatively safe.