How the Recent Equifax Breach Endangers Your Privacy!
A credit score plays a crucial role in your financial journey. Credit scores can buy you the new car you’ve been dying to get for so long. They could even upgrade your family from sharing one bathroom to everyone having their own bathrooms! A credit score is one of the most important numbers that will ever be connected to your name. Agencies determine your credit score by a credit report which includes a lot of personal information. There are three main credit agencies that determine your credit: Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian.
These three dominate the credit industry and have business relationships with several banks, credit card users, and other credit agencies. What happens when someone gets ahold of your information from that agency? Let’s just say it’s not a good result. These agencies have your life in their data bases – credit card information, birthdates, even social security numbers. Unfortunately, at some point between mid-May and June, 143 million people in the U.S were affected by a cyberattack to one of the three leading credit agencies: Equifax.
Equifax announced in July that they were compromised, stating that more than 209,000 credit card numbers we’re accessed. If you have a credit score, it’s very likely it came from Equifax. Although the thought of credit card numbers and identities being stolen is terrifying, this hack could have affected thousands of social security numbers, which is a lot more serious down the road. What most people don’t realize is if you are currently using your social security benefits, hackers could wire your social security income to themselves. They could take everything and leave you empty handed.
Monitor your social security income. If you miss one payment, report it immediately. Be sure to have any paperwork ready so you can prove your identity as well. Even for those who aren’t currently on social security, these hackers could have easily taken your information, kept it till you are eligible, and take from you years from now. The difficulty of trying to prove your identity may be shocking. This attack could cause serious financial crisis for many U.S residences. It’s important you act fast in protecting yourself from this happening.
Here’s some ways to protect yourself:
- Contact your agencies and find out whether or not you are at risk
- Sign up for credit monitoring
- Freeze your credit
- Check your accounts
Be proactive with your finances and monitor all your bank accounts. Don’t read or participate in any emails that may seem like a scam. Don’t answer strange phone calls asking for personal information either. Take steps to prevent hackers from using your information and just be alert! You don’t want to find out too late that someone has stolen your identity.