September 22nd, 2017
Recently, Equifax, a large agency responsible for reporting consumer credit, announced that they were hacked in the early summer months. Over 140 million consumers were guessed to have been affected by the breach and a majority of their personal information is vulnerable, such as birthdate and social security number. Unfortunately, this problem is nothing new in the consumer world and Equifax is not the only company susceptible. It is, in fact, just the most recent victim of such cyber crime. When issues such as this arise within the finance industry, it is important to stay informed on any updates, as well as what to do if you were affected by the breach, and how you can take precautions to prevent your personal information from being compromised in the future.
After announcing in September that they had officially been hacked, Equifax created a website that had different outlets and resources available for those who wanted to check on their credit and attempt to add an extra level of security to their accounts. Although the formal apology and security resources were utilized and appreciated by many, it is advised that you are careful in what measures you take to ensure the safety of you and your credit. A majority of the time you will be able to see instances of fraud directly from credit reports, so be sure to review all timely reports to keep an eye out for anything suspicious. Equifax did offer a free year of TrustID, a system that will protect your identity and monitor your credit, although that is not the only method available for keeping your information secure.
If you do notice any activity that you feel could be a threat, it is always an option to freeze your credit. Through using this method, anyone who wanted to access your credit would have to do so through a specialized pin number, adding an extra level of security to your credit. Although it is effective to continually check and monitor your credit yourself, it may also be wise to set up fraud alerts on your account. There are many large companies that can set up fraud alert for you that will notify you if anyone attempts to use your name to apply for credit. The same can be done for your methods of electronic banking, such as debit and credit cards, to ensure that you are utilizing all of your options for maximum security.
Taxes are another outlet that could be vulnerable to this false information. Many hackers will steal personal information to file fake tax reports and receive refunds based upon these false files. It may be wise to file taxes an at earlier date than usual to try to avoid receiving a notification saying that your taxes have been filed without your knowledge.
If you were affected by this Equifax hack, you can use it as a lesson to stay mindful of your credit activity. If you were not one of the millions of American who were impacted by this breach, prepare for the possibility that something similar could happen to you and it's best to take all necessary precautions to ensure your security.
If you want to talk about how to monitor your credit, take measures to lessen the impact of a breach, or discuss recovery steps to take if you were impacted by the Equifax breach, then contact Frisch Financial Group. We are located in Long Island, New York City, Westchester, New York and Tampa, Florida and we serve the surrounding areas.