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Colonial Heights man hit by hackers twice has warning about free credit monitoring

Posted at 10:28 PM, Sep 25, 2014
and last updated 2014-09-28 19:48:00-04

COLONIAL HEIGHTS, Va. -- A Colonial Heights man assumed a credit monitoring service would alert him if his accounts were compromised after his credit card information was stolen by hackers in two high-profile data breaches.

Jim Tash said he trusted a letter stating that his credit would be monitored for a year following a breach, but what Tash did not realize was that the monitoring did not mean he would necessarily be protected from hackers.

“This has really got me scared – and everybody should be scared,” said Tash, who is one of more than four million people whose information at his doctor’s office, Community Health Services, was stolen by hackers.

Tash then received a letter stating that he would be provided with a year’s worth of free credit monitoring.

tash

When he went to buy furniture a week later after receiving the letter, he was in for a shock.

“I gave my credit information and they ran it and they came back and they told me I was approved for $10,000… poof, just like that.”

The very next day another company that he had paid to monitor his credit called contacted him and showed that he or someone had applied for credit at the store – which was supposed to happen.

As for the company providing the free monitoring, they never raised a red flag. Their report showed “no activity.”

When he contacted the company, they blamed the gaffe on the fact that they only check one of three credit agencies.

Tash then received a similar letter from Home Depot saying that his information was stolen in their data breach and that he would also have free credit monitoring. But when Tash checked into the service, it was through the same company that only monitored one credit agency.

After Tash complained to Home Depot, the company called and told him all three credit agencies would be monitored.

Some folks, like Pam Rodgers, are now rethinking using any type of credit card. She said she's basically only carrying cash these days.

Insurance companies are now offering inexpensive ways to protect yourself. Added to our homeowners insurance, that service costs about $20 a year. It's about $200 a year for a small business.