KHC Wealth Management has put together a list of things you need to know and actions you can take to protect yourself:
How do I know if I am affected by this breach?
You can find out whether your information was breached at this site that Equifax created:
Click on the “Potential Impact” tab and enter your last name and the last six digits of your Social Security number. Make sure you are doing it from a secure computer and an encrypted network connection any time you enter your Social Security number. The site will tell you if you’ve been affected by this breach.
Equifax has offered to provide a year of free credit file monitoring and identity theft protection. At first, the terms and conditions included language that indicated anyone who enrolled would give up their right to sue the company, but the company clarified late Friday that the arbitration clause wouldn’t apply to the data breach and use of the credit monitoring service. Some legal experts are still questioning this piece.
How do I protect myself?
- Check your credit reports from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion (for free) by visiting www.annualcreditreport.com. You should pull and review your reports every year. You can visit IdentityTheft.gov to find out what to do if you see something that doesn’t look right.
- Strongly consider placing a CREDIT FREEZE on your information at all 3 credit bureaus. Freezing your credit report makes it harder for thieves (or anyone) to open new lines of credit in your name. It may be an inconvenience to you as well if you are opening a new credit card, buying or leasing a car, or applying for or refinancing a mortgage. However, most of us don’t need to access our credit all that often. The credit bureaus will give you a PIN number which you can use to “unfreeze” your credit prior to applying for a loan, etc. Here are the links to initiate the freeze online or by phone:
The credit bureaus may charge a fee each time you place and lift a credit freeze. These range from $5 – $10 depending on your state of residence.
Equifax (Free): 1–800–685–1111
TransUnion ($5 in KS and MO): 1–888–909–8872
Experian ($5 in KS and MO): 1–888–397–3742
- Pay attention to unexpected notices about new accounts or processing applications for credit. Follow up on them right away.
- Monitor your existing credit card and bank accounts closely for charges you don’t recognize.
- Sign up for credit monitoring. Equifax is offering a service for free for one year, but there are also several other free or paid services available through Zander Insurance, Credit Karma, Life Lock and many others.
Even if you were not identified as someone who was affected in this breach, monitoring your accounts and utilizing a credit freeze could be a great protective move. If you have any questions or concerns, contact Jamie Bosse –firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (913) 345-1881.