Equifax Breach - What Can You Do?
Why it Matters and What You Can Do
The Equifax Breach affects 44% of the USA population and more than 50% of individuals over 18. This breach is probably the most severe breach to date because of the amount of personal data that was leaked.
- Full Names
- Social Security Numbers
- Birth Dates
- Current and Prior Addresses
- In some cases driver license numbers
Because of the information leaked anyone with the information can easily steal your identity. The only positive is the scale (143 million) not all individuals will have their identities stolen. The other downside is that your identity may not be used maliciously for years.
So what can you do?
- Get a Free Credit Report and Sign Up for Free Credit Monitoring
- Freeze your credit with Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.
- Freezing your credit means that no one, not even you can apply for and open any type of credit (credit cards, personal loans, etc.)
- You can unfreeze your credit if you need to apply for a loan with the pin you will be given when you freeze your credit. I recommend keeping the pin safe in a password manager like LastPass.
- Be aware that if your personal data was included in the breach that individuals will likely file fraudulent tax returns with the data.
- This will cause you to be unable to e-file and require you to send an additional form with your tax return stating you believe your identity has been stolen.
- This can cause long delays in receiving tax refunds
- The only defense is trying to file your tax return as soon as possible