Equifax, one of the three major credit bureaus, was the victim of one of the largest data breaches in history. Information exposed included Social Security numbers, home addresses, credit card numbers, drivers license numbers and birth dates. The company estimates that the data of over 140 million people are at risk which equals roughly half the U.S. population. That means that the chances you are affected are pretty high.
At Westover, we take great care in safeguarding all sensitive and confidential information and we encourage our clients to take proactive steps to protect your personal information. Below are the steps you need to take to ensure your information is protected.
1. Enroll in Equifax’s identity protection program, Trusted ID. The program is designed to help prevent identity theft and tampering with your credit. To access Equifax’s site to determine if you were impacted, visit www.equifaxsecurity2017.com. Whether you are affected or not, U.S. consumers can get a year of credit monitoring for free.
2. Check your credit reports from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion for free by visiting annualcreditreport.com. Accounts or activity that you don’t recognize could indicate identity theft. Visit IdentityTheft.gov to find out what to do.
3. Consider placing a credit freeze on your files. A credit freeze makes it hard for someone to open a new account in your name. Keep in mind that a credit freeze won’t prevent a thief from making charges to your existing accounts.
4. Monitor your existing credit card and bank accounts closely for charges you don’t recognize.
5. If you decide against a credit freeze, consider placing a fraud alert on your files. A fraud alert warns creditors that you may be an identity theft victim and that they should verify that anyone seeking credit in your name really is you.
6. File your taxes early — as soon as you have the tax information you need, before a scammer can. Tax identity theft happens when someone uses your Social Security number to get a tax refund or a job. Respond right away to letters from the IRS.
At Westover, we take great care in safeguarding all sensitive and confidential information and we encourage our clients to take proactive steps to protect your personal information.
If you have questions or need assistance with implementing any of these measures, please contact us.
© Westover Capital Advisors, LLC. All rights reserved.