As I am sure you are aware, last week the credit bureau Equifax was hacked and hundreds of millions of their clients private information was stolen. I want to address this issue since we have received a lot of client calls and the security breach may affect you. Here are 3 action items you can take to protect yourself.
1) Request a credit report:
a) the government allows you to get 1 free credit report every year. With this report you can see all of the accounts you opened which require a credit check. If you see something on the report that you did not initiate, call the company and take the necessary steps to shut the fraudulent item down.
2) Set up credit monitoring/ fraud alerts;
a) the 3 credit bureau's and some private companies offer a credit monitoring service for a fee. Monitoring your credit means you sign up to be notified any time someone attempts to use your social security number to apply for credit. If you receive word of an account being open and it wasn't you, you can address the issue immediately
3) Freeze your credit
a) a credit freeze will lock your credit files so only you have access to them. If there is a fraudulent request for credit under your social security number, the lender will be unable to pull your credit report and then no new account could be opened. There is a fee to set up a credit freeze, and you will have to jump through a bunch of hoops when you are ready to pull your credit
All this being said, I cannot recommend one course of action over another. What I will say is you should assess your specific situation, determine how protected you want to be, and select the option you feel best fits your situation. Please call the office if you have any additional questions.