As many of you probably know, the credit reporting agency Equifax was recently hacked. 145 million Americans were affected, and data such as names, addresses, social security numbers, birth dates, and driver’s license information were leaked.
The reason why this is such a big problem is mainly that people with access to this information could apply for fake tax returns and rob you of what is rightfully yours. They could also rack up credit card debt.
If you’re trying to buy a home, taking out a loan will become much more difficult if someone else is causing these kinds of problems for your credit.
So, how can you figure out if you have been hacked? What can you do to protect yourself?
The first step is to go to www.Equifax.com and type in your name. From there, you’ll be able to find out if you may have been one of the people who was hacked.
Of course, the catch is that Equifax will try to get you to enroll in their premier ID. This would monitor your credit, but I personally recommend that you sign up for at www.CreditKarma.com instead. With Credit Karma, you’ll receive free credit score monitoring and will be alerted if anything suspicious occurs.
The second step you can take is to freeze your credit. I used to make fun of my parents for doing this, but now I believe this is absolutely warranted. This service is free through Equifax, but other credit reporting agencies will actually charge you between $3 and $10 to freeze or unfreeze your credit.
Also, don’t forget to freeze your children’s credit. Since they have a social security number, then they are still vulnerable.
However, you should still talk to your lender before freezing your credit. Also remember that you can sign up for 90-day fraud alert, which might be easier than freezing your credit.
If you have any other questions or would like more information, feel free to give me a call or send me an email. I look forward to hearing from you soon.