On September 7th, 2017 Equifax, one of the three major credit reporting agency in the US, announced a breech of 143 million records. Information taken by cybercriminals includes; Names, Addresses, Social Security Numbers, Birthdates, and even 200,000 credit card numbers. With this information these cybercriminals can easily open up new bank accounts, loans, and even new credit cards!
What can you do to protect yourself from this breach?
Step one, freeze your credit.
Credit freezing will prevent anyone from opening a new account, loan, and other services without your consent. Your existing creditors can see view, access, and update your credit. If you need to thaw your credit for a new loan or credit card that is not an issue! But the process will take about three days to complete. Be warned, freezing your credit means no more access to “Sign up for our new store credit card right now and save 10%” or other “on the spot” deals. You do need planning to unfreeze the credit.
With Freezing your credit cost money? Probably yes. Unless you have been a victim of identity theft (with a police report) it will cost you about $10 per credit agency.
To freeze your credit, pick up the phone and call: (Innovis is a smaller credit reporting agency than the big three, but growing fast after this weeks news)
- Equifax — 1-800-349-9960
- Experian — 1‑888‑397‑3742
- TransUnion — 1-888-909-8872
- Innovis — 1-800-540-2505
Question: I heard that if I was impacted by the credit breach, I could get one year of free monitoring from Equifax?
This is my personal opinion, and I will not tell you what to do, but, Equifax will monitor your credit for one year, and then ask to charge for the following years of monitoring. They also are the one who are facing (at the time of this writing) a $70 BILLION dollar lawsuit for more expected to come. An Audit at the Argentina office revealed the login to the system was admin as the username with the password of admin. So, no I would not personally trust Equifiax to just monitor my credit. I’ll just freeze it instead.