Last week, Equifax announced that hackers stole the credit data of 143 million Americans from their database. There is a very good chance your credit information was stolen by hackers. Below I will provide you a weblink to see if you were hacked.
Let’s face it, online hacking is here to stay. The best strategy for consumers to be proactive is to “monitor” your credit continously, and check for any unauthorized past activity. Victims of ID theft can experience lots of financial and emotional pain. It’s a shame that Equifax, one of three leading credit scoring companies, tried to “profit” off the hacking breach. Luckily, thanks to the backlash from the media and public, Equifax is now taking a responsible position to address this problem.
- You can easily check if you were 1 of the 143 million persons whose credit was “hacked” by entering basic information on their website. (Link below)
- If your data was breached, the weblink will allow you sign up for Equifax’s 1 year of free Credit Monitoring. (Initially, Equifax was requiring you to enter your credit card first with the goal of billing you for years 2 and on. That condition has since been removed, and now you can choose to sign up credit monitoring for a monthly fee for year 2).
- The free Credit Monitoring service also had a “fine print” clause that forced enrollees to accept court arbitration, and give up your right for a trial or class action suit, if you suffered from ID theft damages. Equifax has since removed that fine print.
- It is now safe to sign up for Equifax’s 1 year for free Credit Monitoring.
- I personally use and recommend “Credit Karma.” It’s free, it has an app for your phone, monitors your credit daily, emails you any alerts, and gives you your credit score. (Download Credit Karma today: Iphone– Android – How it Works)
HOW TO CHECK IF YOU WERE IMPACTED?
Visit the Equifax website here. Click the “Potential Impact” button. Enter your last name and last 6 digits of your SSN and confirm that you are not a robot. The next page will let you know if were “potentially impacted” and will provide a button to enroll in their 1 year free credit monitoring service. If you don’t have any other current credit monitoring services like Credit Karma, its safe to register with Equifax.
Some consumers are opting to put a “freeze” on their credit. This prevents anyone, including yourself, from opening new credit accounts or getting a loan, until the freeze is lifted. This may be an extreme fix, but if you feel this is needed, you will need to request a freeze from each of the 3 credit bureaus. Here is a link to the Federal website on credit freezing instructions.
I hope all of this information was helpful to prepare you for the future.
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