Today on MYM360: The Equifax Hack.
By now you have all heard about the Equifax hack where 150 million people have had some of their most personal data stolen from a company that purported to protect it. I not going to get on my soapbox about how they collect our information without our permission, sell it to others for a profit and then if we want to protect it we can buy their services for our information. Nor am I going to talk about the executives of the company who sold over $2 million of company stock the day after the hack was discovered and a month before the breach was revealed to the public. Nor am I going to talk about the arbitration clause in the ID theft services that they are offering which after the NY state attorney general got involved they are now saying does not stop you from suing the company or becoming a part of a class action suit.
So now the big question becomes, what are you going to do about it? Well, I thought about signing up for their free theft ID service but I think I’m going to take a pass. It’s their theft ID service and I don’t have a lot of trust at the moment. Instead, I’m opting to take control and put a freeze on things. The only thing to remember is that you have to do this at each of three credit bureaus. You can do this by phone or online and I have included their contact info in this episode – Episode 731.
So what happens when you put a freeze on your credit report?
When you freeze your credit report, creditors and lenders can’t pull your credit report or credit score unless you’ve given the credit bureau a password to unlock your credit report. So you might not be able to open a new account, apply for a job, rent an apartment, or buy insurance if a credit check is involved unless to lift the freeze and you can do that temporarily or permanently by contacting the credit bureau. And, there is generally a nominal fee $3 to $20 to both freeze and unfreeze your credit report.
One thing to note though is that creditors and lenders that you already have accounts with can access your credit report and score without you first unlocking your credit report. And, thieves can still make charges to your existing accounts. So, you still need to monitor all bank, credit card and insurance statements for fraudulent transactions.
In case you were wondering, the freeze doesn’t affect your credit score though it may make it harder for you to check your credit score through third-party websites.
Hacks are becoming a part of life it seems so you can’t afford to not take charge of this part of your life whether you choose to take them up on their offer of free ID theft protection or not.
And that’s it for today.
Thanks so much for listening and as always remember that minding your money really is the path to a richer life!
Freezing Your Credit Report at Each Credit Bureau
Visit each credit bureau’s site to get more information about placing a security freeze on your credit report.
- Equifax: Freeze Your Equifax Credit Report, 1-800-685-1111 (NY residents 1-800-349-9960)
- Experian: Freeze Your Experian Credit Report, 1-888-397-3742
- TransUnion: Freeze Your TransUnion Credit Report, 1-888-909-8872
Note that credit bureaus may experience high call volumes and web traffic after major data breaches and other widespread identity attacks. You may experience long phone wait times and even have difficulty accessing the credit bureau online security freeze forms during these times.