Earlier in 2017 there was an event that shocked millions of Americans and simply could not be missed. One of the three major U.S. credit monitoring bureaus experienced a serious security breach as the private information of 143 million Americans was taken. Hackers tapped into Equifax’s database and stole information such as addresses, birth dates and social security numbers. Nearly half of the nation had their private identity information stolen from them.
One of the first things that you should do is check to see if you were affected. Equifax has created a website to help better understand the situation. Due to this security breach, Equifax is offering anyone who registers a new account through their website a free year of credit monitoring and identity theft protection.
It is advised that consideration be put towards implementing a credit freeze on your credit status. It is simple and easy and can be undone with a phone call and a confirmation PIN you set during the initial portion of the credit freezing process.
You should monitor your credit accounts very closely and frequently change your passwords to prevent malicious intrusion. Report any suspicious account activity immediately to the authorities. Always be wary of scams. Never provide personal information to anyone who you are not absolutely certain is qualified to receive the information.
Another solid piece of advice is to check your children’s credit as many of these scammers will use the credit of underage individuals to may have stolen the Social Security Number of your child. Children in foster care can become exceptionally susceptible to this form of identity theft.
Be vigilant during tax season. Many identity theft criminals will hang onto the personal information they have acquired until tax season comes around and then use that time to to fraudulently file a tax return in another person’s name. Also be sure to file your taxes as early as you can to help prevent this type of identity theft from occurring to you.
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