Identity Theft

More Than 76,000 American Express Accounts Breached

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About 76,000 American Express customers in California may be victims of a data breach, the company announced this week. The names and account numbers of 58,522 California residents may have been compromised, and more than 18,000 additional customers in the state may have other information stolen, not including their names, the Los Angeles Times reports.

The credit card company discovered the breach March 25 when authorities notified the company that large files containing customer information had been posted online, seemingly by members of the group Anonymous. It’s uncertain when the attack occurred.

The company said it is notifying affected consumers and has placed additional fraud monitoring on their accounts. Customers are not liable for fraudulent charges, American Express stressed. Data may include account number, the card expiration date, the date the card became effective and the four-digit code printed on the front of the card, according to a company statement.

While that’s not as serious as something like a stolen Social Security number, consumers should still take steps to protect themselves. Data breaches have become increasingly common and difficult to avoid, so the impact of such attacks really comes down to your plan for damage control.

The easiest way to spot an unauthorized transaction is to frequently check your bank and credit card statements online. If you know your information was compromised in a data breach, even checking multiple times a day can be a good idea, so you can catch something as quickly as possible. Affected customers should also check their credit reports and credit scores for sudden drops, which can be an indication of fraud.

Even if you’re not concerned about a data breach, monitoring account transactions, credit reports and credit scores should be a regular part of managing your finances. Credit.com has free, easy-to-use tools that allow you to check your credit scores.

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