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Iowa fire may have compromised records

Jul 16, 2012 Walt Wojciechowski

Many people take precautions to ensure their identity is safe, such as shredding documents that contain important information when it is no longer needed, password protecting online accounts and taking care to protect transactions involving credit cards. However, sometimes an emergency occurs that no one can control. Such an event happened in December in Warren County, Iowa, reported the Insurance Journal. Around 3,000 people were told their information was potentially compromised after a fire in a human services office occurred, and wind scattered documents. Though the service area manager for the state Department of Human Services believes it is not a serious issue, everyone has been notified just in case. When an individual believes their identity has been compromised, often by either noticing odd charges on their accounts or being contacted by debt collectors, one of the first steps they should take is to contact one of the three major credit report services - Experian, TransUnion or Equifax. According to the Equifax website, once a consumer places a fraud alert on their credit file, it extends to the other two agencies. The source said that taking this measure would tell lenders when someone is trying to open a line of credit on this account that they should verify the identity of the person. This would not only benefit the consumer, but also the lender, who probably would not recover a fraudulently loaned sum.