By now, you may have heard about the data breach at Equifax, which compromised the personal information of roughly 143 million people. Without a doubt, this security breach has been one of the worst leaks of personal information in the history of the internet. The consequences of being a victim can be serious - the hackers stole incredibly valuable information such as social security numbers, dispute documents, and even credit card numbers!
While it's understandable to be worried, don't get panic yet. In order to filter out the noise from misinformation, we're going to outline everything you need to know to protect yourself going forward.
The breach actually happened on July 29th.
Why is this important to know? If you haven't seen any suspicious use of your accounts in the last month and a half, it's likely that you were not one of those affected by the breach. We recommend that you carefully review your recent bank statements to look for any fraudulent activity and unexpected transactions.
Do not sign up for TrustedID Premier or any site under Equifax.
Equifax has been marketing a site called equifaxsecurity2017.com to allow you to check and see if your information has been hacked. Please do not sign up for this site or enroll in TrustedID Premier, even if they promise you free credit monitoring and protection for the year. If you read the bylaws carefully, signing up for this service will voluntarily give up your right to sue Equifax in the case there is a fraud; the agreement causes you to settle any sort of dispute through arbitration, not through the court of law. You can read more on this matter here.
Invest in a reliable credit monitoring service.
We can't stress how important it is to use an accurate credit monitoring service that provides thorough monthly updates regarding your credit activity. Free services like Credit Karma are great but do not provide frequent updates and scores from all three credit bureaus. Consequently, relying on free services often makes it difficult to know if any suspicious activity occurs before it's too late. We all value our time and sometimes it isn't worth the burden to consequently monitor our credit activity ourselves. Credit Repair Boss personally recommends IdentityIQ for two reasons: (a) the reports we use from IDIQ are the most accurate we've seen and (b) the company offers an incredible identity theft protection plan for their clients in the chance that theft occurs. Regardless of what credit monitoring provider you ultimately choose, we definitely recommend investing in a professional service in order ensure your future financial safety.
Set up a fraud alert.
If you suspect you are a victim of identity theft, you can limit financial damage my placing a fraud alert on your file which will prevent thieves from opening a line of credit in your name. To set up a fraud alert, you must directly contact the credit bureaus by phone. They are reachable at:
* Transunion: 1-800-680-7289
* Experian: 1-888-397-3742
* Equifax: 1-888-766-0008
Please note that we would only recommend this if you are NOT looking to apply for a mortgage, car, or new lines of credit anytime in the future as having a fraud alert will negatively impact the process. For more information, please refer to this link here:
As always, you can rely on us.
We're here to answer any of your questions you may have regarding the Equifax breach and how it may impact you further down the road. Keep in mind that these large financial conglomerates don't always have your best interest in mind. Equifax, for example, had a few executives cash out nearly 2 million dollars in stock the day before the breach happened to protect their personal financial interests. It's incredibly important to find people you can trust when dealing with the credit system. Luckily, we're always here to help. The system and financial giants might not have your back, but you can count on us.
Know your rights. Know your options.
Please forward this blog post to your friends and call us today at 917-536-2800 if you have any questions! As always, we offer free consultations to review your credit status and to offer a concrete plan on repairing your score.