Take Action Against Identity Theft
Updated: Jan 17
If you’ve been paying attention to the news lately, you’ve likely seen coverage of the security breach at Equifax, one of the largest credit reporting agencies in the U.S.
Equifax announced that it was hacked last week, exposing social security numbers, credit card numbers, and other personal information for up to 143 million Americans (this number will likely rise as the investigation unfolds). The biggest risk to the data breach is identity theft, when someone steals your personal information to open up new credit cards, takes out new loans, etc. The most effective way to protect yourself against this is to freeze your credit, which prevents new creditors from accessing your credit report.
Freezing your credit is a good idea regardless of whether your information has been breached. Freezing credit prevents new creditors from accessing your credit report. Since applying for credit cards and loans involves a credit pull by lenders, it prevents any unauthorized accounts from being opened in a new name chosen by the hacker. If you want to do a freeze, it needs to be done with all three major credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.
To help you get the ball rolling, here are the direct links to all three sites:
Another reminder is protect yourself on your financial websites with a strong password! It is also a good idea to periodically change your password for extra security. Our office works diligently to protect your accounts, as does Fidelity where most of our clients’ assets are held. If you’re one of our clients that has ever thought it an inconvenience to sign an extra form to move money, get through their security questions on their website, etc., you know that this is all for your protection. Most clients are also unaware that Fidelity also offers a Fidelity Consumer Protection Guarantee, which they will reimburse you for losses from unauthorized activity in covered accounts occurring through no fault of your own. To read about this, click on the following link:
One final note – don’t panic! The security of your accounts and your personal information is of the utmost importance to us, and we are here to help you in any way possible. Please reach out with any questions.