I just received a new card from the card issuer with a new account number and a letter saying my account had been "compromised." What does that mean? What should I do?

This typically means that your account number may have been improperly obtained by someone who is not authorized to use it. This can occur if a hacker succeeds in breaking into the computer system of the card issuer or of a company that processes transactions for the card issuer, or in a variety of other ways. Because the card issuer has closed your account, you do not have to worry about charges showing up on that account. But you should be alert to the possibility that your identity may have been stolen and that other accounts may be compromised. Review your other financial statements carefully.

You may also want to obtain a copy of your credit report. You are entitled to one free credit report every 12 months from each of the three major consumer reporting agencies – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. , which was created by the three consumer reporting agencies, is a centralized service for requesting your free annual credit reports. You can order all three credit reports at the same time, or order one now and others later.

You can request your free report through the website , by calling 1-877-322-8228, or by filling out the  (available at ) and mailing it to Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281. No matter how you request your report, you have the option to request all three reports at once or to order one report at a time.

If you find that information in your credit file is wrong, you can dispute the inaccurate information with the consumer reporting agency or with the entity that furnished the information.

If you already have received a free credit report in the last 12 months, you may still be able to get another free report because your account was compromised by requesting a fraud alert be placed on your file.

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