Equifax Data Breach: How to Protect Yourself

By Jason Lesh, Managing Principal

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Because we didn’t have enough to worry about already, earlier this week we learned of a massive data breach at Equifax, one of the nation’s three major credit reporting agencies. Hackers stole names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses, and in some instances driver’s license numbers and credit card numbers.

In light of this unprecedented breach, we want to provide you with the necessary information to lessen your risk of being a victim of identity theft:

  1. Freeze your credit with all three main credit bureausBy freezing your credit files, you can prevent criminals from using your information to wreak havoc on your financial life. Even if your info was not exposed by the Equifax hack, this is the best way to protect your identity and your money.
  2. Sign up for a credit monitoring service: It's a good idea to keep an eye out for suspicious activity. As a result of the breach, Equifax will provide you with “TrustedID Premier,” which includes 3-Bureau credit monitoring of Equifax, Experian and TransUnion credit reports; copies of Equifax credit reports; the ability to lock and unlock Equifax credit reports; identity theft insurance; and internet scanning for Social Security numbers - all paid by Equifax for one year. Click here to find out if your data was breached and/or to enroll in TrustedID. With that said, this is the same company who failed to protect their data so take it with a grain of salt. We have heard good reviews of CreditKarma (free), and IdentityForce and LifeLock (subscription).

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is the nation’s consumer protection agency and works to prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices in the marketplace. Their Consumer Information site has additional information on the Equifax breach.

Nothing can guarantee that you won't become a victim of identity theft, but we hope these proactive steps can reduce the likelihood. As always, if you should have any questions about this or any other financial related issue, please don't hesitate to reach out to us.