I was recently asked by a client about the major security breach at a large, national credit reporting bureau that exposed 143 million Americans (nearly 40%) to possible fraud and identity theft. The question was about what they could do at this point. In reality, it could be too late since the breach occurred from May through July and the company did not report the breach until September!
For starters, all consumers should have a credit reporting agency account and check their credit often. I use Credit Karma because it is free and you can check your report regularly. I should disclose that I have no professional relationship with Credit Karma and I receive no compensation from them. I simply like their service.
Next, you can sign-up for a credit monitoring service. There are several out there, so do your homework and pick the one that fits your needs. Make sure to read the fine print and understand exactly what you are paying for and what services you will receive in the event of identity theft.
A stronger step to take is a credit freeze. Do not consider this step lightly. A credit freeze will lock your credit down and make it fairly hard for hackers and identity thieves to get to your data. It also makes it harder for valid creditors to extend credit to you. A credit freeze does not affect your credit score, and it will not prevent an ID thief or hacker from accessing current accounts. It will not prevent you from applying for new credit, getting a job, or renting or leasing housing. You will have to do some legwork if you are attempting any of these actions as it will be necessary for you to temporarily lift the credit freeze. For more on a credit freeze, please see Credit Freeze FAQs at the Federal Trade Commission's website.
Be proactive with protecting your data. As an independent Certified Financial Planner™, I can help you with a strategy and explain your options. Contact me and let’s get started! #talktometuesday #IDtheft #identity #identitytheft #hacker #Hireaplanner