How to Protect Yourself - Identity TheftSubmitted by Blue Rock Wealth Management on October 5th, 2017
Thoughts on identity theft and the recent Equifax hack
If you didn’t feel vulnerable to identity theft before, the recent Equifax hack should make you think twice. As many as 143 million people were potentially affected which equates to around 50% of the United States. Very sensitive person information including Social Security numbers and dates of birth may have been compromised meaning would be hackers could open credit accounts in your name without your knowledge.
The financial impact that identity theft could have on in individual is devastating. The entire process can be very aggravating and painstaking for victims. We would like to help reduce your risk with a few easy steps that can save you on the back end should you need to do some investigating.
- Passwords: Change them and use the strongest possible that you can remember, this includes email passwords as well, not just bank accounts. Last pass is a handy tool that will generate and store passwords. https://www.lastpass.com
- Use common sense: Make sure you are not giving out personal information on the phone or via email. Never give out your password, no one will ever ask you for this if they are legitimate.
- Shred documents: Lots of things come in the mailbox with personal information. The more you can eliminate mail coming to your house the better. Whenever possible, enroll in e-delivery documents which are password protected. Direct deposit on any income checks.
- Monitor your own credit: There are many companies out there that will charge you a fee for this but you can also do this on your own. www.annualcreditreport.com. You are allowed to use this free once a year
If you find out that you have been a victim you need to super diligent with your current bank accounts and credit card accounts. Make sure to change your passwords. Call the companies and either close accounts and open new ones, or potentially put a freeze on your accounts. https://www.equifax.com/personal/education/identity-theft A freeze can present complications by requiring you to lift the freeze to apply for new credit but it also causes you to think twice about opening new credit accounts (maybe not a bad thing).
Keep in mind that none of these steps are 100% full proof but they will certainly help.
If you haven’t already listen to Jennifer talk about this topic on the Triad Podcast Network https://soundcloud.com/user-589432337/protecting-yourself-from-identity-theft