We’ve all heard about the Equifax Data Breach and we are coming to the realization the EVERYONE was impacted- so what can you do about it?
Why is the Equifax Data Breach such a big deal?
Equifax is a credit reporting agency – it is basically a database of financial information for everyone who has a social security number. Equifax has your name, social security number, date of birth, address, employer, and income – in addition to your account numbers and account history with various companies like banks, car dealerships, credit card companies, apartment/ property management companies, mortgage lenders, etc., etc. It is a lot of information you don’t want other people to have or to be able to use. This is why so many people are concerned about potential identity theft as a result of the Equifax Data Breach.
Unfortunately, in the digital age it is likely that most people will experience some form of identity theft – luckily, there are ways to handle it. Equifax has created a website for you to check to see if your information was breached (but, by all accounts, this system is unreliable). Equifax also provided 2 possible options to reduce your risk of identity theft; 1) Free Credit Monitoring for a year, and 2) Freeze Your Credit. We help people resolve identity theft, and we deal with credit daily so we can confidently say, nope – to both.
There are free credit monitoring services already available – www.creditkarma.com (which gives you access to Equifax and Trans Union), and www.freecreditscore.com is for Experian. So enrolling in the Equifax one year free monitoring is not necessary. Also, freezing your credit has its downsides. You cannot apply for any financing unless you unfreeze your credit. It costs money to unfreeze and refreeze- so unless, you notice something fishy with your credit it may not be necessary to freeze it. However, you should consult with a credit attorney before making a decision.
DIY Identity Theft Repair
If you do believe you are a victim of identity theft, then you have some DIY options.
1 – Review your credit report and make sure all the information like your name, address, and social security number are accurate, and check all the open accounts to make sure they are yours.
2 – If something is wrong with your credit, you should call the company reporting the suspicious account and confirm whether it is yours.
3 – Dispute the account or the incorrect personal information with the credit bureaus reporting it. (Need a template? check out our Freebies page)
4 – File a Police Report (it is a non-emergency so don’t dial 911)
5 – Complete an Identity Theft Affidavit and submit it to the companies reporting the fraudulent accounts.
This should resolve the problems you are having, if it doesn’t you can always book a consultation with us and we can help you through the next steps.
Can I protect myself from Identity Theft in the future?
If you’re not worried about identity theft currently and everything looks normal on your credit report, what can you do to protect yourself in the future? Our recommendation is always check your credit- at least once every three months. You just want to make sure everything stays normal. But data breaches impact more than just credit. Identity theft can include unauthorized use of:
Driver’s License or Passport
Social Media (accounts like Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat), and
So how do you protect all of this? Credit Monitoring doesn’t cover this, and we have only found one product that is comprehensive and affordable. It monitors these things- meaning it can’t prevent identity theft – but it can notify you of suspicious activity and restore your identity – its called ID Shield by Legal Shield. Want more info? CLICK HERE. Yes, we do make money if you sign up for ID Shield through this site so feel free to research it, and if you have questions call us (480) 907-6088.
Sorry for the long post but hope it’s useful!