Part Two – Next Steps for Your Protection!
As a follow-up to our recent blog with immediate steps you should take after the Equifax data breach, we want to provide you with additional steps you can take in the care and keeping of your credit record.
1. Review your credit report on a regular basis.
- View your report for free at www.annualcreditreport.com.
- Dispute any accounts that are not yours, while in the website.
- You are allowed to view your report from each of the 3 credit agencies one time per year. You should check one agency report right now, then schedule reminders to check another agency report in 4 months, and check the 3rd agency in 8 months. Rinse and repeat every year. In this manner, you can keep tabs on your credit report throughout the year.
- When you view your report, you may be given the option to purchase your credit score (this is not necessary).
2. Sign up for a “My Social Security” account, to prevent others from creating an account as you. https://www.ssa.gov/site/signin/en/
3. Use a password manager, such as https://www.lastpass.com to manage online credentials and create strong passwords.
4. Regularly review bank, investment and credit card statements for fraudulent activity.
5. If you’ve been a victim of identity theft, send the IRS an Affidavit of Identity Theft form 14039. https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f14039.pdf
6. If you don’t need to open new credit soon, freezing your credit may be a better option than a fraud alert. Unlike a fraud alert, you need to do this with each agency (not just one of them). There is a cost to freeze your credit with each agency, as well as a cost to “thaw” your credit freeze the next time you apply for a loan. Read more about using a security freeze in our March 2016 blog, Anthem Data Breach (How to Protect Yourself)
Remember, credit fraud and ID theft is unique to each individual, so each person in a household must take these steps. Don’t forget about your children.