In the recent Equifax breach, an estimated 143 million Americans may have had their personal information exposed. As the situation develops, there seems to be many more questions than answers. So what should you do in the meantime?
1.) Information about the breach
2.) Place a credit freeze on your files with all three main credit bureaus
From our research, this is the best option to protect your identity even if you were not apart of the breach. It won’t stop a thief from making charges to your existing accounts, but a credit freeze will stop them from opening new lines of credit in your name.
For more information about how to freeze your credit with each credit agency, we recommend checking out Clark Howard’s Credit Freeze Guide.
3.) Free protective services
Sign up at Credit Karma. In addition to a free account you will also have access to free credit monitoring services and alerts for suspicious activity. Plus, you’ll get free access to your credit reports and scores, as well as tips to improve your credit.
4.) File your taxes early
Tax identity theft is more common than you think. If your SSN was accessed in this breach, file your taxes as soon as you have all the necessary tax information. Don’t let a scammer use your SSN to get their hands on your tax refund.
Be sure to respond immediately to any letters you receive from the IRS. However, be suspicious of any emails or phone calls claiming to be from the IRS. The IRS will not initially notify you using such means.