There is no easy fix to the Equifax breach- effects could be long term. So, hats off to Gene for this excellent post on the subject. Remain vigilant!
Don't Give a "One and Done" to the Equifax Breach
You may believe you've seen and absorbed all the details and instructions surrounding this breach. And that you've taken the necessary steps to check your credit and finances in order to either repair your compromised credit or further protect yourself.
That may or may not be true. Are you willing to take that gamble?
Seemingly, many are ...
I say that because, as I've continued to read comments left on my post and others' concerning this breach, one thing has become abundantly and alarmingly clear.
Too many people incorrectly believe that this notice of the Equifax breach requires a "one and done" reaction. Too many assume that if they check their credit and finances now ... and find no current signs of problems ... that they are in the clear. That they can breathe a sigh of relief.
Sadly, that's not true.
Stolen private and financial information can have a long and indefinite shelf life in the resale scam market. Just because a breach of your credit and finances has not reared its ugly head yet today ... does not mean it won't do so at some point in the future.
As offered in my previous post regarding this breach ...
You should react to this Equifax breach assuming the worst. And that's both in the short and long term.
You should proactively continue to take measures to protect yourself, your finances, and your credit history/credit scores moving forward ... no matter what your credit inquiries find right now. Consistent timely monitoring is called for.
Adopt this mindset. Make it your routine. You'll be better protected and prepared should any issues arise in the future.
If you've found that you've already been compromised as a result of this Equifax breach, take action quickly. Following are some of the actions you should take:
- Contact your bank/financial institution(s). Cancel credit and debit cards immediately.
- Consider closing your Checking Account(s). Reopen a new one.
- Change Account Passwords.
- Change Account Security Questions.
- Consider placing a fraud alert or credit freeze. Educate yourself thoroughly prior to taking action.
- Go to annualcreditreport.com for a free credit report. Review it thoroughly.
- Go to IdentityTheft.gov or call 1-877-438-4338 to report the compromise.
- Contact any businesses where bogus accounts were opened. Ask that account(s) be closed.
- If your Driver's License has been stolen: Find your nearest motor vehicles office at usa.gov/Motor-Vehicle-Services. File a Report.
- Don't overlook checking these types of accounts too: Student Loans, Utilities, Cell Services, Retirement Accounts, Investment Accounts, etc.
- If you suffered stolen info/data: Keep detailed accountings of any actions you take to address issues that arise.
- Always request that letters/written proof of your request(s) and confirmation of account closings be forwarded to you.
- Follow-up on communications and requests until they're acknowledged/received. Having this written proof in your possession can save you time and frustration in the future.
- Continue to monitor your personal information, credit, credit report, accounts, and finances on a consistent basis in the future.
Those intending to do harm using stolen personal and financial information can and will try to do so indefinitely. This is NOT a "one and done" call to action.
Stay vigilant from this point forward. Take measures to protect yourself from the havoc that may result from the Equifax breach or any others that might occur in the future.
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