Hi All - if you haven't heard already one of the three credit reporting agencies, Equifax, was hacked from May through July. They just announced the hack on 9/7/17. Unfortunately 143 million of us had our most sensitive financial and personal information stolen. As someone who has worked so diligently and followed virtually ever precaution to protect our identity this is maddening. Here is an article that explains what happened: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/are...now-2017-09-08
I worked with my entire family to help secure us from identity theft, parents, brothers and sisters and seven kids. Out of all of us only two didn't have their info hacked. Here is what we did if it will help anyone else, best of luck:
First go to the Equifax website that was setup with all the info and a way to check if you were probably hacked:
The website that checks doesn't give you a definitive answer if you were hacked or not, it just says "probably" one way or the other. I've had all my family members, even the two that were "probably" not hacked do the following:
1. After you check if you were hacked it gives you an opportunity to enroll in the TrustedID service that Equifax has provided for free for a year. This is a great service that will keep an eye on your identity to some degree. I recommend enrolling, it's worth it for free. Note, some of my family members were told to come back to the website at a certain date to enroll. That is because the website is swamped and can't handle the load of millions of people enrolling. They kept checking every couple of hours and were eventually able to enroll. You will get an email to confirm your enrollment, it may go to your spam/junk folder. Keep an eye out for it, if you don't confirm you won't be enrolled. Mine took about 12 hours to show up. It came from "email@example.com". Watch out, with all this activity happening we're probably going to start getting spammed heavily with false ways to check credit, sign up for services, etc. Be sure the email comes from the right source. I can't guarantee that will be the address but hopefully you can tell if it's a good email.
2. Proceed to each of the three credit monitoring agencies Security Freeze webpages and freeze your credit file. NOTE: this will freeze your credit file so NO ONE, not even YOU, can pull the data to get any kind of credit. So, if you plan on applying for any kind of credit (credit card, loan for TT, mortgage, etc.) at any time in the future you will have to have your credit file unfrozen. Fortunately this is not difficult, each agency will give you a PIN, keep it secure and when you need to unfreeze your file for someone ask which agency they use for credit checks. Go back to the appropriate security freeze website and get a one time PIN that they can use to check your credit. Admittedly a hassle but a much safer way to maintain your credit file. This is actually the safest way to maintain your credit file anyway. Just know that it is a bit of a hassle and unfreezing, even for one time can take 24-48 hrs.
Why do a Security Freeze, because with the kind of info that the hackers got they can now easily open bank accounts, credit cards, car loans, etc., in your name. Then guess what - YOU - get to pay their loan, if you don't your credit is ruined. Of course you're not going to do that but it is extremely difficult to unravel that mess. For some people it can take YEARS. I'm sure some of the folks here have had their identity stolen, they could tell their stories of frustration and pain.
Here are the websites for the Security Freeze at each agency:
Good luck all - and maybe post and let us know if you were "probably" hacked. I hope our communities ratio of being hacked is much better than my family's.