There is a high probability that you were impacted by the Equifax data breach. The breach, which is estimated to have impacted 143 million Americans – nearly half the US population – is considered one of largest data breaches in history.
Let’s Get Some Facts out There:
What is Equifax? And why do they have my information?
Equifax is one of three major U.S. consumer credit agencies. And if you have ever purchased anything like a car or a house, rented an apartment, or applied for a credit card, these agencies have your information. They have your Social Security number, your address, your date of birth, and other identifying information.
How did the breach happen?
Cyberthieves were able to access information via a weak point in the Equifax website firewalls between May and July of this year.
What Can You Do Now?
First, check to see if you were affected.
Equifax has an online tool at www.EquifaxSecurity2017.com that allows you to look yourself up by your last name and last six digits of you Social Security number. The tool indicates whether or not you may have been impacted.
The site then offers you ID protection, credit monitoring protection, and credit freeze protection at no cost for one year.
You Were Impacted: What Now?
- Keep an eye on your accounts at all times. It isn’t enough to simply check after a new cyber security breach is reported in the news. This breach happened over three months ago, giving hackers plenty of time to steal valuable information. Go through your credit card statements and bank accounts weekly, and watch for any unusual activity.
- Call your Smolin professional, and get help from your trusted advisor.
- Sign up for fraud protection. Equifax is offering a year of free fraud protection monitoring through its TrustedID Premier program. There are other programs you can sign up for as well if you choose to do so.
- Freeze your credit. If you are really worried, you can freeze your credit. In this scenario, no one can access your credit information unless you unlock it using a PIN only you have. If you lose the PIN, however, you will have to go through an arduous process to prove your identity before you can get another one. If you are looking at buying a house or applying for a credit card, right now, a freeze may not be right for you.
- Retirees should guard their Social Security and Medicare numbers. Do not give out Social Security numbers at the doctor’s office. And watch receipts of Social Security benefits, as identity thieves can change the address to which a check is sent or the account to which the amount is automatically deposited.
Take a Deep Breath
Do you have concerns pertaining to your security status? Smolin’s professionals are able to help you find the best approach to ensure your personal and business information is secure. Contact us. We can help provide information and answers to your cyber security questions.