Worried about the Equifax breach? Me too, so here’s what I did

If you haven’t heard, Equifax announced that secure information for over 143¬†million people has been compromised. Most news stories covering this are calling attention to the 1 year of TrustedID Premier service Equifax is offering to make up for the fact that nearly half the country is at much higher risk for identity theft than they were before July. The problem with taking this approach (by the way, you should still sign up for this, it is free), is that it is temporary. Unfortunately, those of us who have been affected (again, half of us) will have to carry this threat with us for the rest of our lives. This is not a breach that will become less severe as time goes on. Every conceivable piece of information hackers need to steal our identities are now in the wild. This isn’t exactly sitting well with me, but I stumbled across an article that offers a solution, though it isn’t pretty:

There are things called credit freezes you can implement with each of the 3 credit bureaus. You can read up on them here: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0497-credit-freeze-faqs

I’ve taken the time myself to go to each of the 3 sites the FTC kindly referenced in the above article for me, and I’ve set up the credit freezes for each. While Equifax is able to charge California’s $10 fee to set it up, I realized as I went through the process with them that they did not ask me for a credit card, yet provided me a PIN all the same. So while Equifax is not charging us for this, they aren’t exactly broadcasting that they’re offering it for free either.

My advice to you would be to sign up for a free credit monitoring service like Credit Karma. I have that already. Then sign up for each of the 3 bureau’s credit freezes. Lastly, get that free year of monitoring from Equifax. You do that, and we all might still get out of this with our lives – and our identities – intact.

NOTE: I am not a security expert when it comes to identity theft. However, my position as an IT Consultant does give me some measure of understanding of hackers and cyber security, which is the reason behind this email. Please take this as friendly advice, but by no means assume my knowledge and recommendations above as infallible.

Thanks all!

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