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21 Million Hotmail Clients Urged to Retrieve Credit Report

By Faye Mergel
Published: Thursday, October 8th, 2009

Identity fraud investigators report that 21 million hotmail subscribers are at a high risk of potential fraud after a massive security breach. According to the report, email addresses and passwords were acquired illegally in order to steal sensitive information from clients. Investigators believe that the credit reports of breached customers will immediately be affected after the mail provider was attacked.

21 Million Hotmail Clients Urged to Retrieve Credit ReportHotmail clients are advised to retrieve their credit reports from the credit reporting agencies (CRAs) right away in order to prevent identity thieves from utilizing their accounts in fraudulent activities. Scammers immediately use a stolen identity in opening new credit card accounts or applying for car and auto loans.  Investigators say that 71 percent of frauds happen within a week of stealing a consumer’s personal identifying information. Consumers are advised to take matters seriously since such fraud involves huge monetary costs. Experts say that victims usually spend at least $1,000 in dealing with their cases, not to mention the minimum of 4 months it requires most of them in resolving their cases.

Investigators say that Hotmail hackers were aiming to breach through accounts which may contain credit card information. These details, experts say, will later on be used by hackers in making purchases under another person’s name. Credit card frauds are the most comment type of identity theft, making up 26 percent of the total number of cases. They add that fraudsters could easily make their own accounts using these details, which they use in racking up debts enough to make an unsuspecting consumer’s name an automatic red flag for lenders.

Specialists say that a person whose credit report has been severely tarnished because of identity theft will almost certainly get rejected by creditors. They add that if they do get a loan, it would most likely come from subprime lenders who charge excessively high interest rates. Experts also note that a person who has been victimized by this fraud will most likely be harassed by lenders who want get paid back.

Consumers are advised to check their credit reports regularly especially if they have been receiving spam messages on a regular basis. Experts say that unsolicited emails usually have malicious attachments which are the primary hacking tools of scammers. Clients are advised not to open suspicious emails in order to avoid being victimized. Consumers are also reminded about their rights in filing a dispute if they notice fraudulent items in their credit report. They are advised to waste no time in filing their dispute so they can prevent fraudsters from taking advantage of their accounts.

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