New Castle Police have received multiple reports from residents that they have received a letter from American Express indicating that a bank account had been opened in their name. The letter continues to explain that accounts were shut down within two days so no victims lost any money. Contrary to previous news, American Express says the letters are legitimate and they are meant to inform the recipient that their information may have been compromised through well publicized data breaches. If you believe your info may have been compromised go to identitytheft.gov/assistant.
Here is a statement from a spokesman from American Express:
American Express has sophisticated monitoring systems in place to help detect and prevent fraudulent activity, so if we suspect an account was opened without a consumer’s authorization, we will take immediate protective measures. We also inform the consumer of our actions via a written letter. I can tell you that our security controls acted quickly to ensure no consumers have faced any financial losses in connection with these accounts.
To be clear, this was not a breach of American Express’ systems, but we do not know how the fraudster obtained consumers’ personal information. Ensuring the security of personal information is our top priority, and we investigate these incidents in close partnership with law enforcement.
As a general piece of advice, I would note to your readers the importance of safeguarding their personal, financial or account information from fraudsters by being extremely cautious about sharing any sensitive information with anyone who reaches out via phone, email or text asking them to provide it. If they are ever unsure, they should call their financial institution directly.