Personal security is very important to every one of us. In light of the current breaching of security on personal information and the numerous attempts to defraud your identity by phone or phishing emails, I thought I would put together a short list of security precautions that may be useful. Please let me know if you have additional ideas for protecting your financial accounts or any alternatives to these.
- Check the Equifax website to see if you have been affected:
- If you are affected, sign up for their free credit monitoring for 1 year of coverage. Once you sign up online, you will get a delayed email (maybe days) to complete the signup from the TrustedID website. They will ask you 5 obscure questions about items on your credit report or personal info to validate your identity. They are tricky ones. You must answer them within 5 minutes.
- Use TrustedID to check your credit report accuracy. If you are uncertain about any items, get a copy of your free annual credit report before freezing the reports in the step below.
- Apply for whatever credit cards you want signup bonuses from before you freeze your credit. Some suggestions:
- Cancel any credit cards that give signup bonuses in order to reset the 24-month cycle to get signup bonuses again in the future.
- Freeze your credit at all 3 agencies. This is not the same as “locking” your credit…be sure the exact word “freeze” is used. This prevents any inquiries from new potential creditors to your report, which should prevent any new credit opening in your name. Experian should be free, if you were affected by the breach. The other 2 will be $10-$11 each. Be certain you get and keep the PIN safe. You must have this to unlock your reports in the future. Here are the 3 links for freezing:
- Sign up for an account with Social Security online. This will prevent anyone from using your breached info to create an account for your social security number and accessing your benefits, info, and tax returns: