By now, I am sure you have all heard about the Equifax breach. The breach lasted from May through July, and hackers were able to access personal information. There has been a lot of publicity on the leak itself, but not as much on what to do if you were 1 of those 143 million people whose information was exposed. Do you know how to check whether or not you were affected? How about what you need to do if you unfortunately were 1 of those 143 million? Check this article out on what you need to do in order to protect your information from being misused.
The FTC had some great steps to take to help you protect your information from being misused.
Step 1: Visit Equifax’s website, www.equifaxsecurity2017.com On this website you will be able to find out whether or not your information was exposed. Click on the “Potential Impact” tab and enter your last name and the last six digits of your Social Security Number. This site will tell you whether or not you have been affected. Whether or not you were affected, you can enroll in a free year of free credit monitoring.
Step 2: Check your credit reports to make sure you were not a victim of identity theft. You can go to www.annualcreditreport.com and pull a credit report for free from all three credit bureaus. This way you can make sure nobody has used any of your information.
Step 3: Monitor your credit card and bank accounts for any charges that you don’t recognize. You may freeze your credit report so that no new credit can be opened in your name, however this also can be a hassle if you would like to open any new credit while your report is frozen. It also typically costs $10 in most states as well, which may deter some individuals. If you decide against a credit freeze, you also can place a fraud alert on your credit report and explain that you may be a victim of identity theft and you would like them to contact you before making any account changes.
Step 4: File your taxes as early as possible. You don’t want any scammers using your information so your best bet is to get that information to the IRS as soon as possible.
Whether or not you were affected by the Breach, it is always good to keep yourself informed in case anything like this happens in the future. You’re data may have been leaked, however there are many ways that you can protect yourself from the wrong individual using your information.