Massive Credit Card Security Breach Puts 40 Million Consumers at Risk for Identity Theft – Tips to Protect Yourself from Financial Expert

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Master Card and Visa security breaches are becoming almost common. Last weekÂ?s announcement of hackers accessing records from CardSystems Solutions Inc. means up to 40 million credit card holders may be at risk of identity theft. Financial Planning Expert Jim Trippon CPA offers practical pro-active ideas to protect your financial privacy.

Houston, TX (PRWEB) June 19, 2005 – Hackers are accessing Americans most private financial data with increasing frequency. Personal finance expert and former Price Waterhouse CPA, Jim Trippon suggests "instead of worrying and feeling helpless" that consumers need to "take proactive steps to protect themselves." Just last week, MasterCard International Inc. announced that up to 40 million customer accounts, including 14 million MasterCard and 22 million Visa Card records, may have been exposed to hackers.

According to Trippon, “Don’t just wait to become a victim of these cyber thieves.” Trippon notes recent problems have occurred at credit card issuers, third party card processors, and at data information clearinghouses such as Choice Point and Lexis Nexis. To protect yourself Trippon suggest the following 7 actions:

1.    Use your credit card company’s free fraud alert notification - Many card companies now send free email alerts to you when your account is overdrawn or if a charge over a pre-determined dollar amount is made. If you company offers this service free of charge, take advantage of it.

2.    Read your monthly credit card and bank statement - the best way to resolve a fraudulent charge is to react quickly and file a dispute and affidavit of fraud with the card issuer. If you don’t read your statement the card thief may get away with their crime.

3.    Review your credit report at least twice a year – Fraudulent charges may be made to accounts in your name that do not use your address for mailing of statements. Read your credit report at least twice a year to spot unauthorized accounts and charges.

4.    Opt out from marketing offers at credit bureaus – According to expert Trippon “Much of the identity theft problem is caused by credit bureaus companies marketing your private information.” If you file marketing “opt out” requests with the three major credit bureaus you can reduce your risk of becoming a victim by reducing the number of people who can view your records.

5.    Opt out of marketing offers from card companies – “Credit card companies also market your data” according to expert Trippon. File marketing “opt out” notices with all of your credit card and banking relationships. As an added benefit, says Trippon, "you will also get less junk mail."

6.    If you become a victim file a police report – This will make it easier for you to have unauthorized charges reversed and avoid having your credit report damaged by fraudulent charges.

7.    Get financially educated – The more educated you are about money the less likely you are to become a victim. Financial books like Trippon’s How Millionaires Stay Rich Forever teach the specifics of how to avoid becoming a victim of financial scams.

Jim Trippon is the author of "How Millionaires Stay Rich Forever: Retirement Planning Secrets of Millionaires and How They Can Work For You." His book is available online and at bookstores nationwide. His new book "Millionaire by 50!" is due out in January 2006. For more information visit http://www.trippon.com. You can request a free subscription to his monthly newsletter at his website.

Trippon is available for media interviews on short notice. For further information or to schedule an interview with Jim Trippon, contact Amal Zaid at 713-661-3806 or reach Trippon directly 24/7 at 713-498-8849.

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Amal Zaid, Media Relations
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