I am by far not the first to say this but it’s so important that it not only bears repeating I don’t think it can be said enough. Last month on September 7, 2017 Equifax, one of the three big credit reporting agencies announced that it suffered a data breach. Simply put peoples information, our personal information that identifies us was stolen. This should never have happened. That said, almost every company, that we do business with through credit are stating that we should go to Equifax to see if we are potentially affected. The problem with that is that in order to find that out you have to go through and outside agency that in of itself is insecure and unverified even by Equifax. Which means you are now giving your information to some unknown company or indvidual. So what should you really be doing.
- Go to one of the other credit reporting agencies; either TransUnion or Experian
- Sign up for their credit monitoring and place a fraud alert and/or credit freeze on you credit report.
Other things to keep in mind:
- Once you’ve signed up for the credit monitoring keep in mind to also be vigilante and look through your credit card and bank statements very month (thieves will make small deductions that can get over looked).
- Are you a home owner? Make sure not only is your home in your name but only the properties you own are in your name with all the proper information that goes along with it. This may sound strange but identity fraud has gone as far as stealing peoples homes, selling them and/or purchasing new ones.
- Lastly, keep your identity safe. Things like birth certificates, passports, deeds, titles should all be in a safe and secure place. You should also make a copy of these items in case of an emergency so that if the originals become lost, stolen or destroyed you still have your proof of who you are and what you own as these things can be difficult to replace in times of an emergency.
Please remember credit reporting agencies are not operated or controlled by the government, so you can and are advised to file a complaint with the Consumer Federal Protection Bureau if you deem it necessary.