We have had a previous tip discussing how our creditors get hacked every five minutes, but why stop there now that we know that half of the country has been exposed at the bureau level. Over a three-month timeframe, from May to July 2017, hackers accessed our socials, DOB, addresses, DL numbers and for an unlucky 209,000 people even credit card numbers.
First off, don’t make the mistake of thinking the worst of it is over. The credit cards would probably be used first, but monitoring that and replacing them if needed is relatively easy, and let’s face it, in today’s fraudulent age that’s nothing we don’t have to continuously do anyway. Unfortunately, the other information the hackers accessed could be used over many many years to come (maybe a generation). It’s far too much information for any one faction to utilize effectively never mind in a timely manner. The information will most likely be sold many times over to citizens of countries who earn a living from defrauding us, and this gives them a possible lifetime career. Additionally, our government was far too bogged down with these attacks before this happened, so for now, I’d expect little help there.
Regarding the aftermath, here is where our opinion varies from the rest of the web. First, going to Equifax’s recommendation waives your rights on a class action, so that wouldn’t be our first choice. Then again after 143 million people sue there won’t be enough money to go around to buy lunch. We personally also wouldn’t put a credit freeze or fraud alert on either unless you are currently under attack, nor sign up for an expensive credit monitoring program as this issue has no end in sight. A lifetime of spending on monitoring will add up a lot, and gives you, we believe, a false sense of security. Nothing in today’s market ultimately protects you and that gets proven continuously.
The concept of identity fraud/theft is the thieves use your information to pretend to be you, so in a lot of scenarios how can creditors tell the difference? The key, once again in our opinion, is to personally scour your own credit report at least a couple times a year (you can periodically access a free credit report from many places online, and certainly do it months before you need to use your credit) and if you find anything derogatory that is erroneous or even just questionable you need to flag it. If at that point you want our help, in our experience on items that have been flagged in that manner, we have remarkable success removing them. Credit can easily be the most expensive or adversely beneficial aspect of your life, it’s worth that personal attention. Anything we can do for you, please call (888) 795-9088.