Here at Cadamier Network Security in Denver, we want to share how to protect yourself after the Equifax breach. Unfortunately, it’s highly likely that your personal information was part of the recent data breach. In fact, 143 million people may have had their information exposed, including names, birth dates, social security numbers, driver’s licenses, and more.
At Cadamier, we’ve been watching this situation unfold and wonder what steps were taken to ensure network security. With the right precautions taken, it’s quite possible that this could have been prevented. And it’s certainly a cautionary tale for businesses of all sizes to invest in proper data security and intrusion prevention.
Needless to say, here we are and you may be trying to figure out what next. Let’s take a look.
Those who also had their credit card numbers (209,000 people) will be notified directly about the breach. Everyone else must visit the Equifax site and use their last name and their last four SSN digits to determine whether they were affected. If you are affected you may want to take the following precautions to protect yourself after the Equifax breach.
Order Your Credit Reports
Get your free copy of your credit report (you are entitled to one free report annually per agency) from TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian. Your credit report will show who has requested your report, which is a sign your information may have been used to open a line of credit or obtain a loan.
A lack of requests doesn’t mean you are safe. It just means that it isn’t on your report. Sometimes, it can take a while for items to make it to your report. Some activities, such as stolen money or suspicious credit card purchases will not show up on a credit report.
Fraud Alert on Credit
Contact one of the credit reporting agencies and place a fraud alert on your reports. Whichever agency you choose is then required to contact the remaining agencies. The alert is good for 90 days and is renewable.
Examine Your Bank and Credit Statements
It is important to look over all of your statements carefully so that you can spot suspicious activity. Look for small amounts of money stolen across your accounts. You can also have a financial advisor or your lawyer look over your statements to help you spot unusual activity. Be sure to check your accounts every month.
Sign up for Identity Theft Protection or Credit Monitoring
Monitoring services are helpful but are not foolproof either. Such services track your credit and alert you to credit requests and new accounts, but they do not alert you to suspicious activity. Many of these services also include identity theft protection, which is helpful and will monitor utilities, social media, and payday loan applications.
Many monitoring services have a fee, but Equifax is offering one free year of monitoring through TrustedID Premier. This service will track your credit reports and provide you with free copies. It will also scan the web for use of your social security numbers and includes identity theft insurance.
Freeze Your Credit
This is an extreme step, but it blocks anyone from accessing your credit reports without your express permission. While it can be effective in stopping new accounts, it can also be inconvenient to you because you have to contact the company to lift the freeze when you need a loan or credit card. There is a fee associated with these services as well.
Now that you know how to protect yourself after the Equifax breach, if you have a business and want to keep your data and customer data safe, use Cadamier Network Security Corporation in Denver. We offer the products and services you need to keep intruders out and prevent a similar event from ruining your company’s stellar reputation.