In case you haven’t heard about it, recently Equifax, one of the largest credit serving companies in America, was breached and something like 143 million people have had their sensitive data compromised. Unfortunately, this is a major problem for keeping your financial and personal information private. It means that hackers could potentially release your social security number, name and date of birth, and that is what is used to create accounts on your behalf. In response to this I came across an article Below on dailykos.com.
Please read it and take it to heart:
The news this morning is all about Irma and the Equifax data breach. As your financial planner, and as a credit card holder, I’m mulling the latter – it could be the financial equivalent of a killer hurricane!
First I will say, don’t brush this data breach off. We ALL have credit information maintained by Equifax. Breaching a credit bureau is a much more malicious action than breaching Blue Cross or RG&E! Take this seriously.
*****I recommend you ASSUME your data at Equifax has been compromised.*****
Here are the measures you can take to batten down the access hatches on your credit record:
1. Put a freeze on your credit record. Visit https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0497-credit-freeze-faqs to learn more and how to take this step.
2. Put a fraud alert on your credit record. The Link in #1 tells how to do this also.
3. Immediately obtain a credit report from one of the three credit bureaus (Trans Union, Experian, Equifax) and review it carefully to see if you have already fallen victim to abuse or ID theft.
4. Resolve to obtain another credit report from a different bureau in 2 months and again in January 2018 (from the third bureau).
5. Accept any offer from Equifax to provide a year or two of credit monitoring.
6. Place alerts on your credit card accounts so that you are getting routine email updates about CC balances and transactions. Read the updates as they come in and follow up if something doesn’t seem quite right. (This can be done by logging into your CC online account.)
7. Feel free to share this email with your family and friends. My take is that people in Houston and Florida are especially vulnerable right now because fraudsters may target them as being “easy prey” right now.
As a credit card holder, I will be following up on all these over this coming weekend!
Go forth and batten your financial hatches!”