In light of the recent Equifax breach, we have compiled a list steps we encourage all of our clients to follow to protect their personal information. Please be aware that due to the high volume of requests at this time, some of the steps below may take longer to process than normal.
Steps to Consider taking:
- Check potential impact. All clients should visit the Equifax Security 2017 response center at https:/www.equifaxsecurity2017.com and click “Potential Impact” at the bottom of the page to see possible impact. Be aware there are enough bad actors sending emails impersonating Equifax that it’s critical clients do not click on any links, in any email, related to this incident. Instead, clients should visit the Equifax website directly via the link provided above.
- Enroll in the free credit monitoring. All clients, regardless of potential impact, should enroll in the free credit monitoring provided by Equifax. There are no exceptions.
- Check your credit reports. The impact is large enough that all clients should check their credit by obtaining a free copy of their credit report from all three reporting bureaus at https://www.annualcreditreport.com. Others have recommended sites such as Credit Karma that provide this information in a more helpful format, and allow you to get regular updates to your credit information. Due to the high volume of requests, this step may take longer to process than normal.
- Consider placing a credit freeze at each reporting bureau. Because of the nature of the release, we encourage considering a credit freeze at each of the three reporting bureaus. This is a personal decision for each client, and requires thawing your account each time you apply for new credit. However, it will protect clients from identity theft in virtually all other cases. Clark Howard has a helpful guide on the process available here. The trade-off is peace of mind vs. the cost and hassle of dealing with a credit freeze.
- Closely monitor credit cards and bank accounts for charges you don’t recognize.
- Understand the risk will continue. Much of the information disclosed is evergreen, and will last beyond the one-year credit monitoring currently being offered. Your options for mitigating this risk are placing a credit freeze, as noted above, or opting to pay for your own monitoring once the free offers expires. Visit https://www.identitytheft.gov/Info-Lost-or-Stolen to learn more about protecting your personal information.
Courtesy of Triad Advisors