Considerations for protecting your finances
On September 7, 2017, Equifax, one of the three main American credit reporting agencies, announced a massive cybersecurity incident that exposed consumer information – including names, addresses, birth dates, and Social Security numbers – leaving millions vulnerable to identity theft. Here are some things to consider to help protect your finances:
What can I do?
1. To check if you or anyone in your household has been affected by the breach, visit equifaxsecurity2017.com.
2. Click on “Potential Impact,” then “Check Potential Impact,” where you will be asked to provide your last name and the last six digits of your Social Security number.
3. You will receive a message indicating whether your personal information may have been impacted.
4. Whether or not your information was impacted, you have the option to sign up for free identity theft protection and credit monitoring. This can be done by clicking “Enroll,” then following the instructions to go through the enrollment process with TrustedID Premier. The free enrollment period ends November 21, 2017.
How can I protect my information?
In addition to the specific actions above, there are many ways to protect your personal and financial information on an ongoing basis, including:
- Monitoring your financial, bank and credit card statements for unauthorized use
- Check your credit file by registering for a free copy of your credit report from each of the major credit reporting agencies once every 12 months by visiting annualcreditreport.com or by calling 1–877-322-8228.
- Establishing fraud alerts with the three major credit reporting agencies. A fraud alert tells creditors to contact you before they open any new accounts or change your existing accounts. There is no cost to use this service. To place a fraud alert on your credit, call any one of the three major credit reporting agencies.
- Consider placing a security freeze on your credit file. This prohibits anyone from opening new credit in your name – even you. It makes it impossible for anyone to access your credit report and it stays in place until you remove it. There is a cost for this service.
- Keeping passwords and PINs secure; also, make sure your passwords are strong and unique
- Keeping computer security, encryption and firewall software up to date
- Using personal computers for financial transactions, avoiding public use computers
- Never giving out personal information to strangers, especially over the phone or via email
- Monitoring email, social media and online accounts for unauthorized changes
- Only clicking on email attachments from trusted sources