November 09, 2017
I hope that after the news of the Equifax data breach, you’re being extra smart about taking steps to monitor your credit reports. You can always get one free credit report a year from each of the three credit bureaus at annualcreditreports.com.
Checking once and breathing a sigh of relief is not enough. You must continually monitor your personal financial accounts. Identity thieves are smart. They don’t always strike right after they have stolen your info. Sometimes they will wait months or years before striking, assuming your guard will be down.
You can also put a 90-day Fraud Alert on your credit files at Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. And then write yourself a note to renew every three months. But even with fraud alert you can’t relax. Take advantage of the email and text alerts all credit card issuers and other financial businesses offer clients as a way to monitor their accounts for free. There’s no faster way to spot I.D. theft than to get an alert for a purchase you didn’t make!
I also want you to be extra cautious in responding to emails from financial firms, or people you are doing business with, that ask for any personal information, or request you pay a bill.