EQUIFAX Breach – What you should do now?
Okay folks, here it is…what you need to know, how to do it, the links, the whole 9 yards. The info I’m sharing with you contains some info that many public articles don’t have all in one place. I’ll also give you my opinion on the pros/cons.
We all know this data breach is big and most all know what happened. DON’T panic! With all the previous hacks like Target, Home Depot, Anthem, and countless others…chances are pretty good your info has been hacked at some point or another. If there is a silver lining on this breach, I think it is a wake up call for many to do the things I’ve been preaching for years. Be proactive and you will sleep better at night.
If your credit has been affected from any kind of identity theft and you think you may need credit repair call Illinois Credit Services now at 630-427-8500
– You can check to see if you were one of the 143 million affected by going here:
The Equifax website has been flooded and seems to be a hot mess.
Just assume you were affected and follow these steps.
*** Place a FRAUD ALERT on your credit. It’s free and easy to do. It’s okay to do and you will feel better having it but it’s like swimming in dangerous water with a life preserver.
There are 3 kinds of alerts:
Initial Fraud Alert (temporary): 90 days
Active Duty Alert (military): 1 year
Extended Fraud Alert: 7 years
The GOOD – Fraud Alerts are free and inform creditors there is a fraud alert and they should take precautions before extending credit. You only have to contact 1 of the 3 bureaus and they are obligated to inform the other 2.
The BAD – a 90 day Fraud Alert does NOT require a creditor to contact you before extending credit. They can still give credit in your name but they’ve been warned of the alert.
NOTE: An “extended” alert DOES require the creditor to call you first BUT…you must file a police report and provide the report number to file an extended alert.
*** Change your Passwords for all financial stuff and don’t use the same PW over and over. Mix them up, use symbols, and change them periodically. You should be doing this anyway…
*** Watch you credit card bank statements each month for weird or unauthorized activity. It’s a good habit nowadays to do.
*** FREEZE your credit! It’s the ultimate in credit protection and NO ONE…not even you can open new credit without YOU “thawing” your credit. Background – this is your right by law but you have never heard about it because if your credit is locked down – no one can run your credit…which means no new loans (until YOU say so)…no unsolicited offers of credit.
If you were in business to sell a product, would you voluntarily take your products off the shelf so no one could buy them? Freezing your credit is similar to taking your product (credit) off the shelf…a loose comparison but you get the idea. That may be the reason you haven’t heard of it before. It’s your right by law to Freeze your credit but NO ONE is responsible to market this info to you and why would they take their product off the shelf.
The GOOD –
– your credit is frozen from ALL third party creditors…no one gets a loan until YOU say so by “thawing” your reports
– it’s easy to do and only cost $10 per bureau 1 time (if you won’t spend $30 to lock down your credit…why would you spend $150/year on LifeLock? more on that later)
– Thawing credit is easy – When you freeze your credit you are given a “security code” (put it in a safe place and if you lose it there are steps to still thaw your credit). My credit is frozen, but I recently thawed mine and my daughter’s credit in about 3 minutes on my phone at a car dealership. Before that they couldn’t access our reports and couldn’t sell us the car…3 minutes later we were approved.
– ALL of your current credit activity remains the same. Business as usual. You can use all your credit cards, you accounts are still reported to the bureaus…a credit freeze simply locks out ALL third party creditors from accessing it. You can also access and see your own credit. Identity thieves are shut down.
The BAD –
– you won’t be able to apply for 10% off your next purchase at the checkout line (which you typically should not do anyway)
Here are the 3 links to freeze your reports:
*** MONITOR your credit. Yes, you can enroll in the Equifax ID protection they are offering to everyone BUT…to me, this is like the fox watching the hen house. Why rely on the company that was hacked to now protect you? Here’s the link if you want to go that route:https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/enroll/
There are a lot of site out there to watch your credit but we recommend you monitor your credit through this site:
It has all three reports with scores in a nice, easy to read layout.
– a little on LIFELOCK and other services like that…just listen to their disclosure on their commercials “while no one can prevent all identity theft…” Their benefits are underwritten by an insurance policy. It is REACTIVE to fix the problem. Freezing your credit is PROACTIVE. LifeLock is $9.99 – $29.99 EVERY month and freezing credit is $10.00 per bureau 1 time.
Whatever floats your boat…
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