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Protecting Yourself from the Equifax Data Breach

Protecting Yourself from the Equifax Data Breach

As has widely been reported, Equifax, one of the 3 credit major credit reporting bureaus was hacked and 143 Million people's personal information including SSN, birthdate, credit card numbers and more were lost. That means roughly half of the people in the United States are affected. 

So, what now? Here are a few helpful things that you can do.

1. Enroll in Equifax's indentity protection program

Equifax is offering a free year of Trust ID, their identity theft protection program. But, be aware: enrolling in the program prevents you from participating in a class-action lawsuit against Trusted ID, but doesn't prevent you from participating in lawsuits related to the cyber-attack.

2. Check your Credit Report

You can check your credit once a year for free at Review your credit report for any accounts that you don't recognize and make sure that the balances for your existing accounts are correct.

3. Setup Fraud Alerts

Your banking and credit card companies offer fraud alert protections. Some of these services are offered for free and others are offered at a small monthly fee. Contact your bank and credit card companies to see what they offer and how they can help protect you.

4. Consider Freezing your Credit

One of the most reliable ways to prevent someone from opening credit accounts in your name is to place what's called a "credit freeze." For just a few dollars, you can freeze your credit at each of the 3 major credit bureaus. But keep in mind when you need to open a new credit account (credit card, auto loan, personal loan or mortgage, etc.) you will have to temporarily unfreeze your credit first.

To freeze your credit, contact each of the credit bureaus online or by using these phone numbers:

Equifax: 1-800-349-9960
Experian: 1-888-397-3742
TransUnion: 1-888-909-8872

The process is usually automated and can be completed within a few minutes. Just be sure to write down your PINs in a secure place - you'll need them when you want to unfreeze your credit.

If you want to get pre-approved for a loan, click here to begin the application process, or call us directly to discuss your situation. Rates are still good right now - but they are expected to start going up soon.