Cybersecurity and identity theft are ever increasing concerns these days. Here are some best practices for you if you are among one if the millions potentially affected by the recent Equifax security breach.
Stay on top of your credit reports – Free reports are available annually from each of the credit bureaus (Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian). They can easily be accessed at annualcreditreport.com. This is an easy way to detect any abnormal activity. While these reports and freezes are available through Equifax, we are recommending avoiding Equifax altogether for right now and only using TransUnion and Experian.
Credit Freezes – credit freezes prevent new lines of credit from being issued, which can inconveniently impede activity (opening credit cards, taking out a mortgage or a car load, etc.) on your end, but will subsequently secure you from any fraudulent activity, during the term of the freeze. It is one of the best practices in the care of any security breach or detection of potential fraudulent behavior. Your credit is essentially “locked down” preventing all activity, good or bad. This is highly recommended for those affected. Right now, it is suggested that victims of the Equifax breach hold a credit freeze for at least 1-2 months.
Review all bank and credit card statements monthly – this is a direct, easy and quick way to detect unauthorized transactions or activity. If you see any strange activity, contact your bank or credit card company, immediately. They can monitor and flag your account and put a hold on anything if necessary. Some banks will even block certain activities if they are too large or if the transaction takes place in an area you are not located near.
Visit the Identity Theft Resource Center – if you believe you have been a victim of identity theft, go to www.idtheftcenter.org or call 1-888-400-5530 for free advice on how to address and resolve identity theft issues. Always make sure you proceed with a second website before continuing.
Additional sites for helpful tips and suggestions: