You’ve probably heard something in the news recently about a company named Equifax being hacked. It’s a name that might even sound familiar to you. It should. It’s a credit reporting agency and it knows everything there is to know about you. Your name, address, Social Security number, birthday, loan and credit card activity, and even in some cases your driver’s license number. It’s all there in the Equifax database.
Freeze Your Credit Files
Odds are, you are one of the 143 million people who are affected, so it’s time to get up to speed on the breach. The first thing you should do, if you haven’t done it already, is to put a security freeze on your credit files. Equifax offers this service for free for one year. You can enroll by accessing an Equifax website, www.equifaxsecurity2017.com and registering for the program. Patience is required, as this site has been overloaded. You should also contact the other two main crediting bureaus, TransUnion and Experian, and request a security freeze as well.
"A security freeze is the nuclear option of credit protection. It gives maximum protection," says Matt Schulz, a senior security analyst at CreditCards.com.
Where is Your Personal Information?
There is a great deal about the security breaches that are still unknown. There are a flood of class-action lawsuits that have been filed against Equifax and countless others are sure to follow. The FBI and the Department of Justice is also looking into this security breach. Attorneys general from Pennsylvania, New York, Illinois and Connecticut have begun investigations while Massachusetts filed the first state lawsuit recently. The breach isn't just limited to the United States as Equifax also disclosed that people in Canada and the United Kingdom have also had their personal information leaked.
The question is who did it, and where is your personal information?
At this point, however, protecting your credit is your chief concern. Requesting a security freeze will do that.