Welcome back to the Simple Cyber Defense Podcast. Today is February 15th, 2020. This week we will be discussing the Equifax Data breach. No there was not a new breach but rather there is some new news on the topic. So lets begin.
Four members of the Chinese military have been indicted over the huge hack of credit agency Equifax, which led to the personal data of nearly 150 million Americans’ information being stolen in 2017. Even though the hackers have been indicted the bad new is that they probably will never be arrested and never face any jail time. So what does that mean? It means that your data is still out there and can be used by anyone. So what can you do? There are a few things to do to prevent becoming a victim of identity theft.
First keep an eye one your credit. You are entitled to a free credit report from each of the three credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) once every 12 months. You can request all three reports at once, or space them out throughout the year. Credit reports list your bill payment history, loans, current debt, and other financial information. They show where you work and live and whether you've been sued, arrested, or filed for bankruptcy. It's important to check your credit reports regularly to make sure that your personal and financial information is accurate. It also helps to make sure nobody's opened fraudulent accounts in your name.
The next thing to do is to freeze your credit. Placing a credit freeze allows you to restrict access to your credit report. This is important after a data breach or identity theft when someone could use your personal information to apply for new credit accounts. Most creditors look at your credit report before opening a new account. But if you've frozen your credit report, creditors can't access it, and probably won't approve fraudulent applications. You have the right to place or lift a credit freeze for free. You can place a freeze on your own credit files and on those of your children age 16 or younger.
The last thing you can do is use services like Credit Sesame and Credit Karma to setup alerts when there is important changes to your credit report. This will inform you when new accounts were opened or when your credit was used. This is useful because these alerts will inform you about fraud before it becomes a major issue and you can report it right away.
If all of this seems to much for you, you can always pay for credit monitoring services like LIFELOCK, IDENTITYFORCE, or ID WATCHDOG.
No matter what you decide to do just remember that Identity thief is a big problem that just becomes easier to do after every data breach. However, if you stay on top of credit monitoring, you do not have to become a victim.
This concludes the security update. Links to everything are in the show notes.
This week we talk about the Equifax Hackers. Four members of the Chinese military have been indicted over the huge hack of credit agency Equifax, which led to the personal data of nearly 150 million Americans’ information being stolen in 2017. We also talk about what this means and what you should do.
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Find out how to get your credit report, make corrections, and more:
Do You Need Identity Theft Protection Services?
Personal Credit Alerts:
Credit Sesame https://www.creditsesame.com
Credit Karma https://www.creditkarma.com