143 million Americans have been affected by the recent Equifax data breach. There are several things you can do to protect your credit.
The first step you can take is to visit the Equifax Cyber Security Incident page they've provided for consumers... www.equifaxsecurity2017.com. On this site, you can do several things...
- "Am I Impacted" at the top of the page will be able to tell you if you're potentially at risk from the breach.
- "What Can I Do" at the top of the page offers several solutions including enrollment to a free credit monitor service being offered by Equifax to those who're affected.
- Their news section can offer updates and information that may be helpful in upcoming months.
If you've already been to the Equifax Cyber Security Incident page and are looking for some extra steps to protect you're credit, here's some ideas...
- Check your credit reports each year. You can do this for free at www.annualcreditreport.com.
- Consider placing a freeze on your files... a credit freeze makes it harder for someone to open a new account in your name, although it won't prevent a thief from making charges to your existing accounts. See the Federal Trade Commission link below for information on how to do this.
- If you decide a freeze is not the best way to go, you could also place a fraud alert on your files. This warns creditors that you may be an identity theft victim and that they should take extra steps to verify your accounts. See the Federal Trade Commission link below for information on how to do this.
- Monitor your existing credit cards and bank accounts closely for charges you don't recognize. (If you have Beacon credit card or debit card, you can sign up to have all your transactions texted to you with Card Guardian... visit our Credit Card page for more information).
- File your taxes early to prevent tax identity theft.
For more information on the above items, visit this article from the Federal Trade Commission.