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Your Loyalty Reward: Identity Theft

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More than 1.5 million Europeans enrolled in rewards programs through Loyaltybuild, a firm in Ireland, learned their personal information was compromised when the company was hacked in October, according to a report from Bloomberg Businessweek. For about 500,000 consumers, that information included unencrypted credit card numbers and security codes.

Though a Loyaltybuild spokeswoman told Businessweek that the breach occurred in October and was discovered Oct. 25, customers were told to look for suspicious transactions dating back to 2011.

On Nov. 11, the firm announced the attack, during which hackers stole data belonging to people who accessed rewards from websites it runs. Loyaltybuild manages rewards programs for merchants in five European countries and serves about 3.1 million Europeans, according to its website. The breach hit customers of Irish supermarket chain SuperValu, AXA Insurance Ireland, Co-operative Food in Great Britain and Coop-branded stores in Scandinavia and Switzerland.

If the data was stored without encryption, as has been reported, the company will have violated EU and Irish data-security laws.

People share loads of data with the dozens of services they use — it’s part of being a modern consumer. While sharing personal information should be done cautiously, consumers don’t always have much control over what happens after they hand it over.

This is where it’s important to keep tabs on your assets: Frequently reviewing bank statements, regularly requesting credit reports and staying on top of credit scores enables consumers to quickly spot errors and potential fraud.

Unauthorized charges, incorrect information on a credit report and a sudden drop in credit scores can indicate identity theft, and there are plenty of ways to stay up-to-date on your financial information. For instance, Credit.com offers a free tool, the Credit Report Card, that gives individuals monthly insights into their credit scores and the behaviors that determine them, and by law, consumers must have access to their free annual credit reports from each major credit bureau.

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