Tips to tackle Equifax breach

Print Article

Thursday’s shocking news that Equifax — one of the big three credit reporting agencies — fell victim to a massive data breach is expected to impact nearly half of American consumers. Compromised data included Social Security numbers and credit cards.

That’s the bad news. The good news is you can do something about it.

Equifax is offering free credit monitoring for a year, but to get it means entering the last six (not the usual four) digits of your SSN. If like me you’re skittish about entering more private data at a hacked site, consider these credit-protection tips commonly advised by financial experts:

1. Check your credit report at Annualcreditreport.com. They’re free once per year from each of the three credit reporting companies (TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian). Check for unfamiliar accounts, and anything unusual in credit balances, personal, and account information. I once found a name on my credit card, along with a rental history, that didn’t belong there.

This may be overdoing it, but if you’re especially concerned about fraudulent borrowing, you can “freeze” credit reports. This prevents anyone else from accessing them, including (so consider carefully) legitimate inquiries such as from banks or insurers.

2. Check bank and card statements for suspicious charges. This should be a semiweekly habit anyway, breach notwithstanding. Months could pass before stolen information is actually used. Report anything wrong and formally dispute unauthorized charges. Cancel any compromised account and get a new card. You can also ask to have potentially fraudulent items “suppressed,” which means it won’t appear to anyone looking at the report.

3. Check internet

subscriptions. This means sites and services linked to your bank or cards, such as Netflix, Amazon, software, and music sites. Inventory them (handy when time to enter new card information), consider changing passwords, and check purchases. Just don’t leave inventory with usernames and passwords (nor, obviously, card numbers) on your phone. You’ll regret it if the phone is lost or stolen.

4. Use two-factor authentication. Take advantage of sites that offer an extra layer of protection, i.e., texting a code to your cellphone for account access.

5. Don’t answer unsolicited requests for information, however compelling. Never provide personal information — financial, identifying, phone, or email address — to anyone unknown, or if unasked for. It’s probably spam or fraud, especially given the recent data breach.

For a step-by-step guide to repairing stolen identity, see Identitytheft.gov.

• • •

Sholeh Patrick is a columnist for the Hagadone News Network. Contact her at Sholeh@cdapress.com.

Print Article

Read More Columns

HISTORY CORNER: A Washington State bridge called ‘Galloping Gertie’ and all that went wrong

February 25, 2018 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press The winds blew and the bridge shook as the roads twisted and turned and finally gave up. The bridge collapsed and fell into the icy waters below — along with a car and Tubby the cocker spaniel. It w...

Comments

Read More

From one president to another

February 24, 2018 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press Add Richard MacLennan to a crowd of baffled administrators. MacLennan, the president of North Idaho College, admits he didn’t really grasp President Trump’s message earlier this month. Trump told a...

Comments

Read More

A contrast in visions of better America

February 24, 2018 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press I had to send The Press thanks as your editorial was an excellent foil to the nasty, “wrong side of the bed” folks in “Readers Write” of Wednesday, Feb. 21. Reminding the citizens that action to help...

Comments

Read More

Rebuttal to sharia’s roar

February 23, 2018 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press It is becoming increasingly fatiguing to read Sholeh Patrick’s unceasing glorification and defense of the Islamic religion. However, she remains a protected paid writer with no “opinion” caveat mark ...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(208) 664-8176
215 N. Second St
Coeur d'Alene, Idaho 83814

©2018 The Coeur d'Alene Press Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X
X