After learning of a JPMorgan Chase data breach affecting approximately 76 million households and 7 million small businesses, Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin is confirming a multi-state investigation by attorneys general into the breach.
Attorney General Kilmartin has sent a letter to JPMorgan Chase asking for additional information about the breach and what, if any, impact it will have on Rhode Island consumers.
JPMorgan Chase has notified customers that their contact information – including name, address, phone number and email address – was compromised in a data breach that has affected customers who have used Chase's web or mobile services: Chase.com, JPMorganOnline, Chase Mobile or JPMorgan Mobile. The breach reportedly took place during June and July.
"While there is no indication that information including customers' account numbers, Social Security numbers or date of birth was compromised, the scope of this breach is of great concern," said Attorney General Kilmartin. "With 76 million households affected, that is the equivalent to well over half of the households in the United States. In addition to monitoring their accounts for suspicious activity, we are warning consumers to be wary of increased spam and phishing attempts – even though account numbers may not be compromised, scam artists may still use personal information like email addresses or phone numbers to try to obtain more information from you."
With the breach, the hackers have gained access to some information but may need one or two additional pieces of information to fully compromise consumers' identities or accounts.
Attorney General Kilmartin offered the following helpful information to consumers who are customers of JPMorgan Chase:
o Be suspicious of any phone calls or emails claiming to be from JPMorgan Chase asking to confirm account information, social security number or other personal identifiable information. JPMorgan Chase will not be contacting consumers by telephone or email seeking this type of information.
o If you wish to check your JPMorgan Chase account, log in directly to the web site listed on your card or account statement.
o Monitor banking and credit card accounts daily for suspicious activity, especially small withdrawals. Often, hackers will withdraw a few small amounts to "test" the account to see if it is viable to fully compromise. Immediately report any suspicious account activity.
o Consider changing email passwords as well as online account passwords. While there's no indication this information has been compromised in the breach, it's a good idea to change passwords periodically anyway.
o Update antivirus software.
o Consider adding a fraud alert to your credit report file to help protect your credit information. A fraud alert can make it more difficult for someone to get credit in your name because it tells creditors to follow certain procedures to protect you, but it also may delay your ability to obtain credit. You may place a fraud alert in your file by calling just one of the three nationwide credit reporting agencies listed below.
o Under federal law, you are entitled to one free copy of your credit report every 12 months from each of the three nationwide credit reporting agencies. You may obtain a free copy of your credit report by going to www.annualcreditreport.com or by calling (877) 322-8228.
You may contact the nationwide credit reporting agencies at:
About the Office of the Attorney General Consumer Protection Unit
The Office of the Attorney General Consumer Protection Unit investigates and mediates consumer complaints concerning unfair and unlawful business practices and misleading advertising arising out of alleged violations of the Deceptive Trade Practices Act. If groups of people are victimized by a deceptive trade practice, this office may file in the Superior Court a civil investigative demand, which is a formal investigation. In appropriate cases, a lawsuit to stop the illegal business practice may be initiated.
Apart from carrying out its statutory responsibilities, the Unit also provides information and referral services to the general public. Consumers are directed to the appropriate governmental or private agencies for help in answering specialized questions or resolving disputes that are not within the Unit's jurisdiction.
The Consumer Protection Unit is available to speak to community groups on how to prevent being a victim of identity theft and other scams. For more information, please visit www.riag.ri.gov or call 401-274-4400.