I do believe you heard about this in the news. With the updates about Harvey and Irma, however, this item may not have been on your To Do List. So, I urge you to take the time to read about the Equifax security breach and to take action NOW.
On 7 September 2017, Equifax announced that its digital services had been hacked sometime between mid-May and July 2017. The successful breach is one of the largest electronic data thefts to date. The sad part is that we are just now, in September, learning about this.
We cannot control all aspects of our digital lives. We can, though, be safe and aware of possible intrusions. The Equifax breach affects many of us and may have ongoing consequences for many years to come.
Steps to take:
- Determine if your personal information is at risk.
On a secure computer system; this does not mean coffee shop wifi and the like. Review the information Equifax posted on their website. Visit http://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com and click on the “Potential Impact” tab. You can enter key information, and Equifax will provide you a statement related to your information. From what I have heard from consumer advocates, you are more in control if you freeze your accounts eliminating persons from possibly using your information. Yes, it does cost a few dollars. HOWEVER, what if someone uses your information? That could end up being much more than a few dollars. Freezing your credit line may be called fraud alert or something similar. Read more on the Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian web sites. Taking this action is useful for preventing fraud by someone opening accounts in your name. You will still need to work with your current credit companies and bank to maintain check and balances. Again, monitor everything regularly.
- Check your financial statements carefully and monthly.
- Consider placing a credit freeze or fraud alert on your personal credit files.
Many creditors and banks allow you to set up fraud alerts sent to your email account or text message. You should consider adding this layer of security.
- Monitor your credit and financials regularly.
- Protect your online accounts, financial, and all others with complex and secure passwords.
- For more information, please visit the Federal Trade Commission’s website at https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2017/09/equifax-data-breach-what-do.