In the year 2017, our data is at risk. Our personal information is kept in servers that are all dangerously easy to break into. This is worrying, seeing as how most people do not generally want their personal information to be stolen. But it seems as if there’s some sort of large scale hack or breach every year, and 2017 is no exception. Just recently, Equifax, one of the world’s largest consumer credit reporting agencies, was the victim of a massive hack that led to 145 million users’ personal information being stolen; this included phone numbers, social security numbers and even driver’s license numbers. It is a dangerous hack that has affected hundreds of millions. So how can you protect yourself?
Utilize Equifax’s Credit Monitor
Equifax is currently offering a free year of credit monitoring to anyone who has been affected by the hack (which is the least they can do). The company is also offering a free year of credit theft insurance, which you should absolutely sign up for.
Monitor Your Finances in the Long Run
When a situation like this happens, most people do one of two things: they assume that they are not affected and never bother to check (which is the worst possible thing you can do) or they check their account balances and statements, see nothing unusual, and assume that they are fine. You shouldn’t do that either. The information that was stolen from Equifax is incredibly sensitive and very valuable for any cyber thief. They can use this information for years. In order to combat this, you must remain vigilant and monitor your own finances for years to come. It may seem annoying, but it’s something you should be doing regardless. Keep a close eye on your credit score, your payment history, keep detailed receipts of your transactions, etc.
Freeze Your Accounts
If you’re still unsure about the safety of your finances, you can always freeze your accounts. This will put a temporary hold on your credit, which will prevent any thieves or hackers from opening any new lines of credit in your name. Obviously, once you feel comfortable, you can unfreeze your account.