Equifax Data Breach - What do you do?
By: Lorene Turnquist
By now you have likely heard the news reports. The credit reporting agency, Equifax had a major data breach which effected over 140 million people. The information exposed included names, addresses, social security numbers, dates of birth to name a few. Should you really care about this? I say ABSOLUTELY!
At a minimum, you should take 2 quick and easy steps to help prevent you from being a victim of ID theft.
- Go to equifaxsecurity2017.com to determine if you are a likely victim. Regardless of the answer, I highly recommend you take step #2.
- Put annualcreditreport.com on your calendar spaced out over 3 times a year. Run one now, and then run another in 4 months, rinse and repeat. There are 3 bureaus so run a different one each time. And when you get your report, make sure everything is right. If it is not, the helpful folks at www.annualcreditreport.com are there to give you guidance on how to proceed. AnnualCreditReport.com is free and is a site setup to provide you with your legal right to inspect your bureau file from each agency 1 time per year.
There is another step you can take. In some states and in some instances it may cost you a couple of bucks, but it may be worth it for peace of mind and that is a Credit Freeze. A credit freeze places a warning on your credit file and requires your approval before opening any loan, mortgage, credit card or other credit type account. It will not prevent someone from using your existing Visa card, but it is a great roadblock for someone trying to take over your identity and get a new credit card in your name. To be effective, you really need to place a freeze on all 3 bureaus. More information about how to set this up and the pros/cons is best found on Google. Just search Credit Freeze.