I am sure that by now you have heard about the Equifax data breach. If you haven’t already thought about it, you need to be asking yourself right now, what am I doing to protect myself and my family from having my identity stolen?!!? Every year more than 10 million Americans have their identity stolen. We have seen massive data breaches over the last couple of years, with Target, Home Depot and Anthem being at the top of the list. Now we add Equifax to this list.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
- Equifax is one of the 3 major credit bureaus and because they are, they have access to the most important pieces of information about you that can wreck havoc on your life!
- The information that was compromised include the following: Social Security Numbers, Birth Dates, Credit Card Information, Driver’s License Information, Addresses, Places Where You Work and so much more…
- There were more than 143 million people that have been affected in the United States. That is nearly half of the population (44% of the population)
I have had many phone calls over the past week asking questions about what all of this means. Simply put, it means 143 million people and their families are at risk of their identity, financial identity being stolen. To restore this information could take upwards to 18 months! It will take away your time at work and home to work on these issues.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
The best thing that you can do is get some identity theft protection in place for your family. I recommend using IDShield to protect you and your family. IDShield provides you with a comprehensive identity theft plan that proves access to licensed private investigators, credit monitoring and internet monitoring. Plans literally start at $9.95 and if you are looking to get set up on a plan, I can help you out in getting signed up. Simply contact me and I can get the process started.
When it comes to the solution Equifax is providing, know that it is their own product. Do you trust them? They couldn’t even protect your records now. Their solution is only good for a year. However, your birthday, social security number and driver’s license information doesn’t just change, it stays the same. How long do you think the people that stole the information will wait? When the LinkedIn data breach happened, Mark Zuckerberg’s password was compromised and used 4 years after the breach. IDShield will continue to monitor your most important information and take care of you long after your Equifax plan will.
I just finished watching an interview on CNBC with Morgan Wright. Morgan Wright is a Senior Anti-Terrorism Advisor with the US State Department. When he was asked what people can do, he stated you can freeze your credit (typically is a fee of $10 for each bureau), and have some kind of identity theft protection plan (Listen to who he uses…HINT: Starts with ID and ends with Shield).
4 STEPS YOU CAN TAKE TO BEGIN PROTECTING YOURSELF AND YOUR FAMILY
- Check out the website that Equifax has set up.
You can go to www.equifaxsecurity2017.com and check to see if you are even on the list of possible victims affected. NOTE: Just keep in mind that you may still be affected even though you aren’t on the list.
- Don’t freak out about it if you are on the list
If you are on the list, don’t freak out too much. It is alright to be concerned, but keep a level head and begin the process of getting things taken care of.
- Sign up for an Identity Theft Protection Plan
Getting some protection for you and your family is important. I use IDShield for my family and have for the past 3+ years and will continue to do so for many years to come.
- Set up a Fraud Alert or Credit Freeze
You can contact any of the bureaus and set up a fraud alert for free. You can also set up a credit freeze. A credit freeze let’s you restrict access to your credit report, which in turn makes it more difficult to open new accounts in your name. That includes yourself. If you are applying for anything that will require looking at your credit reports, then you will have to lift the credit freeze. But as I mentioned before, these identity thieves will probably hold onto your information for much longer than you will keep the freeze on.
I love my identity theft protection plan. It is much like your neighbor that has a sign up in their yard that their house is protected by a security company, or a sticker on their bumper that says, “Insured with Smith & Wesson.” By taking the step of having a identity theft protection plan, you’re just making yourself a little less attractive than the guy that lives next to you. But if someone wants your information, it’s out there and what better way than to have a company that will monitor your information and notify you when something does happen and then ensure you that they have a private investigator assigned to your case and they are working to restore your identity to where it was before it was stolen.
If you have any questions on what you can do, send me an email or give me a call.