This is important.
Equifax disclosed yesterday that it had a data breach that in all likelihood involved you.
Info was stolen for about 143 million consumers including names, Social Security numbers, addresses, birth dates, and driver’s license numbers. Serious stuff and hard to imagine we are not all impacted.
If you have a credit card or loan or have had in the last seven(+) years, then the credit bureaus have been keeping a credit report on you. Be safe and assume your information has been hacked.
There is an Equifax website that you can use to verify if you were affected, however, some are concerned that you may be giving up some legal rights by using it.
Take some steps to help protect yourself and restrict how your personal information is used.
What to do?
- Freeze your credit
Be aware that some agencies may charge a small fee to freeze and unfreeze your credit. You can freeze your credit by using the following phone numbers and links:
2. Call your brokerage firm to put verbal passwords on the account, check with your bank/credit union to see if they also offer this.
3. Set up two-factor authentication on your financial accounts if it is available and not automatically required. Yes, it is a bit of a pain, but it is designed to help protect you. When you log into a website, they send a code which you must use to get into the website. This prevents someone from impersonating you even if they do figure out your password.
4. Open your mail/emails from your financial institutions! When your contact information is changed; emails, address, phone numbers, you are notified. Changing contact info is often step one of fraud (often, but not always.)
5. Be especially watchful of phishing, links to duplicate sites, and other types of email scams. These are attempts to collect additional sensitive data/information to perpetrate fraud.
6. If you logged into Equifax in the past, change that password and if you used the same password on any other website, change the password for that website as well.
If you think that this would be helpful to family or friends please share the info!
While this is serious, and you need to take steps to protect yourself, please do not panic or worry. Take control of the situation and take action. Then go spend time with your loved ones, do some gardening, sip some wine, go hiking, have some chocolates (see my Clark HFP &IM Facebook post from last Friday!) do whatever it is that you enjoy!
I will leave you with this quote from the marvelous George Burns…
“If you ask what is the single most important key to longevity; I would have to say it is avoiding worry, stress, and tension. And if you didn’t ask me, I’d still have to say it.”
Have a wonderful weekend! I will.