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Equifax Data Breach - Assume the Worst and Protect Yourself

Equifax is one of the big three consumer credit monitoring agencies. Last week the firm announced they had been breached and consumer data exposed. The hack involved the data of almost 150 million US consumers and involved social security numbers and other personal data.

You should now assume that your data was exposed in the hack. Here is what you can do now to begin to protect yourself:

  • Monitor you credit, make it a regular habit. You can obtain a free copy of your credit report from the credit agencies once a year at www.annualcreditreport.com. You can do this every few months by rotating the agencies you request.
  • Consider placing a Fraud Alert on your credit with each agency. The Fraud Alert will notify you if someone has requested access to your report. This initial alert will typically only last for 90 days. Place the alert with all three agencies.
  • Consider placing a security freeze on your credit. This is probably the safest method of protection. A freeze will prevent a new creditor from accessing a consumer’s credit report. This prevents anyone from opening a new line of credit in the name of the consumer. Please note that this can be cumbersome if you are shopping for a new car loan or mortgage as you will have to lift the freeze for this purpose. Enacting a freeze can take several days, and lifting it will also involve several days, in addition there may be a nominal charge to do so. You should freeze with all three agencies. Click here for our video tutorial on how to place a security freeze online.
  • Consider a credit monitoring service such as LifeLock or myFICO. There is a monthly fee for these services and it may become the cost of living in a digital world. Try to avoid the obvious upsell for additional services or platinum protection.

Please note that Equifax suffered the breach. They are offering a short term credit monitoring by signing up on their website, doing so however, you will be waiving certain consumer rights to sue or participate in class actions.

www.equifax.com           1-800-349-9960    Equifax

www.experian.com         1-888-397-3742    Experian

www.transunion.com      1-888-909-8872    TransUnion

Please call us with any questions at 401-588-5102.

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