Equifax Breach and What to do Next

The news regarding yet another major breach of personal information from Equifax, a major credit bureau, is another reminder that when it comes to your personal information it’s a matter of when not if it will be stolen.

I thought it would be helpful to send out information on what happened and what you should be doing to protect yourself.

What happened

Equifax revealed that they found a security breach where as many as 143 million US consumers personal information could have been stolen. To find out more information on what happened you can visit https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/.

What to do Next

Find out if you were affected by visiting https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/potential-impact/. Regardless of if you were affected you can sign up for identity theft protection by TrustedID Premier.  

What Should you be Doing

Regardless of whether the Equifax breach affected you, you need to be prepared for the eventuality that your information will be compromised. The sooner you find out if your information is being used the easier it is to get it corrected. We recommend these three options:

  1. Monitor your credit report. Many credit card companies provide free services to allow you to do this through their websites. You are also entitled to a free credit report from each of the three bureaus: Equifax, Experian and Transunion . You should pull a report from one bureau then another four months later. You do not need to pull all three at once.
  2. Sign up for a credit monitoring services. Check with your current credit card company or financial institution to see if they have an existing relationship for free or a discounted rate. You can also look for reviews online from consumer reports or other similar organizations
  3. Freeze your credit. You can do this by calling or visiting the websites of each of the credit bureaus and placing a credit freeze. This tells anyone who pulls up your information that you cannot open a new account. Should you need to get credit you can unfreeze your credit by using the secure pin you set up.

 

Anytime something of yours is stolen you experience a range of emotions. In today’s world, chances are your personal information will be stolen. The best thing you can do is prepare yourself for the inevitable. Make sure you have a plan for how to identify when your information is stolen and what to do next. Work with a financial advisor to make sure you have a plan in place that you can easily implement. This will give you the confidence to not make an emotional decision that may end up hurting you down the road. The sooner you find out when something happens, the faster you can resolve the issue and go back to your everyday life.