Short answer. Find out.
You can can enter the last 6-digits of your social security number and last name in an Equifax online form and find out if you are one of the lucky 200,000 or so who’s information might have been compromised.
According to their site, the breach did not impact their core database. Just those of us on the periphery. I say us because I got the message that I’m more than likely caught up.
If you’re concerned or if you receive the unfavorable news, you have options.
- Sign up for a year of free credit monitoring.
- Download a free copy of your credit report and review it for malicious activity. That something we should do on a regular basis anyway. So think of this as an unpleasant, but necessary reminder.
- Freeze your credit.
Enrolling in Credit Protection Services
Equifax is offering a year of free credit monitoring via their TrustedID Premiere program. To enroll for free, you must do so before Tuesday, November 21, 2017.
I’ll be honest, not sure if I trust the TrustedID Premiere service. WonderMan made a good point. Equifax wasn’t on top of things to begin with. Now, I’m adding my personal information to yet another one of their databases.
Plus, I didn’t receive any notification that my information was potentially compromised and these folks have know since July – according to their own website.
Also, various contemporaries report that they’ve entered fake social security digits and names into the form and received affirmative information.
While they might have accidentally hit on a real person, it’s also likely that this form can’t be trusted.
I’m going to review a few credit monitoring options and get back to you all. In the meantime, pulling my (and your) credit reports only takes a few minutes. Chop. Chop.
Getting a Free Copy of Your Credit Report
I’m sure you know this. But, just in case. Pull a free copy of your credit report here: AnnualCreditReport.com.
You can pull one free report per year from each of the three major credit bureaus. Mix it up. Pull a free one every three months or so from each one. Credit monitoring at it’s finest.
Should You Freeze Your Credit Report
Let me just say, fixing identify theft issues can be a pain in the tuchus. Credit card disputes are generally easiest to reverse. Just a call and some patience. Voila.
Bank account thefts. That’s a whole other beast.
Proving you didn’t open an account. Again, a test of wills.
So whether you freeze your report or not depends on you.
- Are you applying for credit or a loan soon. You’ll have to unfreeze your reports first. That can cost you.
- Are you looking to rent an apartment soon. Landlords want to see credit history. Trust me.
- Freezing one credit report doesn’t stop malicious attempts to open account if a creditor uses one of the other bureaus. Equifax will freeze your credit for free, but to be safe – you should freeze credit with all three.
You can add fraud alert to your credit reports. Ideally, the bureaus will alert you when suspicious activities shows up. But not always. I added fraud alert and still found out months later that I had been a victim of ID theft.
That was 10 years ago though. Systems may be more reliable now. It’s worth a try is freezing is more trouble than it worth this point.
Unfortunately, we live in a world were near-do-wells exists to prey on hard working folks. They’ve always been around. They are just moving and grooving online. The Equifax breach is a not-so-subtle reminder to stay vigilant as it relates to protecting your digital information.