Nearly 1 million customers are at risk. Here’s what to do right NOW.

A data breach at online travel service Orbitz may have exposed the personal data of 880,000 people who booked tickets through the site or via other companies that use Orbitz for ticket sales. That means it’s time to review what to do if your credit card and other personal data have been compromised.

According to Orbitz, the breach was discovered on March 1, when the company found that, between Oct. 1 and Dec. 22, “an attacker may have accessed personal information” stored on its platform. Orbitz added that the breach may have exposed the data of consumers who made purchases made between Jan. 1 and June 22, 2016. The information that was likely accessed includes:

  • The purchaser’s full name
  • payment card information
  • date of birth
  • phone number
  • email address
  • gender
  • physical and/or billing address

Orbitz noted that it doesn’t collect Social Security numbers, so that information wouldn’t have been exposed. Still, any stolen data could be used to access whatever credit or debit card you used to pay on Orbitz, used to create phony credit accounts, or used in other forms of identity theft.

Check your accounts

The first thing you want to know is whether someone’s already living large on your Visa or MasterCard. Go online to check for any recent activity, or call your bank or card issuer. If you get paper statements, go back and check those, too. With a credit card, you won’t have any liability, but with a debit card, you’ve got 60 days to report an unauthorized transaction from the time you receive your statement. Be sure to keep an eye on your future statements, too.

Change passwords

If you’re the kind of person who reuses some form of the same password for every site, that’s a problem. Change your passwords on any card accounts involved in the breach, as well as your Orbitz password. Then change any similar passwords on other sites, too.

Get new cards

Many banks and card issuers automatically kill your old card and send you a new one as soon as they know it’s been involved in a breach. If that’s not your case, call your bank or card issuer at the number on the back of your card and request new cards with new account numbers. If a debit card was involved, you’ll need to change the PIN on the account, too.

If they got you

If you spot any unauthorized transaction or suspicious charge, drop everything and call the card issuer. Then report the theft to one of the three major credit bureaus — Experian, Equifax, and Transunion — and ask for a free fraud alert to be placed on your account. Alerts will be good for at least 90 days and the credit bureau is required to share the alert with the other bureaus.

Consider a freeze

Notifying the big credit bureaus to freeze your credit reports, which prevents any new credit from being opened in your name, effectively shuts down the ability of data thieves to open new credit accounts in your name.

In most states, card issuers are allowed to charge you for the freeze and, if you need to get a mortgage, car loan or open any kind of credit line, you’ll probably pay to have it unfrozen, too. A freeze usually is about $10 but can cost up to $20; typically, you’ll pay $3 to $12 to remove a freeze.

You can find a state-by-state list of details, fees and conditions on freezes here, and information on unfreezing here. You may be eligible for a free freeze if you file an identity theft report.

Alert the authorities

An unauthorized transaction or any other signs you’ve been a victim of identity theft means you need to file a report with the Federal Trade Commission and your local police department. If the theft involved the mail, also report it to the U.S. Postal Service. This helps you get a free credit freeze. Contact:

  • Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Identity Theft Report: visit IdentityTheft.gov and the site walks you through the steps to take depending on your situation (reporting identity theft, reporting tax fraud, etc.).
  • Police Report: if you are the confirmed identity theft victim, you can file a police report with your local police department.
  • U.S. Postal Service Report: If you are the victim of mail theft or mail fraud, you can file a mail theft complaint.

Time for a credit check

You’re allowed to get a free credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus once every 12 months, thanks to The Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act (FACT Act). Go to www.annualcreditreport.com and nowhere else, because many similar sites will try to charge you. One way to create free, year-round DIY credit monitoring is to request one report from a different bureau every four months.

Also, consider getting identity theft protection. Identity theft protection is affordable and will allow you to monitor your identity 24/7 and respond to suspicious activity.

In the meantime, Orbitz said it’s notifying customers and partners affected by the breach, and that it will offer anyone involved a year of complimentary credit monitoring and identity protection service in countries where available. Orbitz customers can call 1-855-828-3959 (toll-free U.S.) or 1-512-201-2214 (International), from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Central Daylight Time, Monday through Saturday or visit orbitz.allclearid.com for more information.

Brian J. O’Connor is the author of the award-winning budget book, “The $1,000 Challenge: 
How One Family Slashed Its Budget Without Moving Under a Bridge or Living on Government Cheese.”

Meet the Author

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor

Contributor

Brian O'Connor is a contributing writer for Debt.com. O'Connor is a journalist, writer and consultant. He's a syndicated personal finance columnist and author of "The $1,000 Challenge."

credit cards, identity theft, internet security

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Article last modified on March 27, 2018. Published by Debt.com, LLC .