How Can You Protect Yourself from the Equifax Data Breach?
The Equifax data breach has been all over the news lately, and has captured a lot of people’s attention. That’s because it’s one of the nation’s largest credit bureaus. And because it may have exposed the information of up to 145 million American adults — one of the worst data breaches in the country’s history.
The event actually occurred back in 2017. However, Equifax just recently came to an agreement with the Federal Trade Commission in July 2019, which laid out terms for restitution. If you don’t follow the news very closely, you may be surprised to learn all the details.
If you think you may have been affected, here’s what you need to do to make sure your information is safe:
-Find out for sure if you were affected
-Start credit monitoring
-Stay informed on new developments
-Check your own information
Check If You Were Affected
The first thing you should do is see whether the breach actually affected you or not. Even if you’ve never used Equifax personally, the data breach may still affect you because of how prolific the company is.
As one of the country’s major credit bureaus, some companies automatically report information to Equifax. Have you ever taken out a loan, applied for a credit card, or gotten an apartment? Then, it’s likely that Equifax has some sort of information about you.
There are a few different ways to check if the breach affected you. Equifax has its own checker, but some experts have expressed uncertainty about whether it works properly. In order to be as safe as possible, it’s a good idea for you to just assume it happened and take action accordingly.
Monitor Your Credit
One of the options that Equifax offers through its FTC agreement is free credit monitoring. Credit monitoring is a very important part of life following a data breach of any kind. It’s especially important when it comes to a breach that involves a credit bureau.
Although you can get traditional credit monitoring through one of the main credit bureaus, there are other ways to monitor your credit. Your bank or credit card company may also have a form of credit monitoring that you can use to see if someone has tried to use your credit information recently.
You can also get a free credit report every year that includes a very detailed account of your credit in the last year.
Follow the Story
The Equifax story is continually updating because it’s technically not even over yet (as of the day this post was published). Although the company’s agreed to a settlement, a Georgia high court still has to approve it.
You should try to stay up-to-date, in case any information comes out about the settlement or the data breach. That way, you can decide what to do next.
Most of the mainstream news sites are covering the Equifax story in some way. That means, if you follow the news in general, you should hear about new information that emerges about it.
If you don’t usually follow the news very closely, you could set up a search engine alert for “Equifax.” That way, anytime something new comes up about the company, you will be notified. Or consider subscribing to a newsletter for a news site that mostly covers cybersecurity information. A site like that is the most likely to publish a story if something does happen with Equifax.
Make Sure Your Information Is Private
Whether you were impacted by the Equifax breach or not, it’s always important to make sure your private information stays private. Especially if you use the internet frequently, you may have left some personal information behind as you made social media posts and shared information. That’s exactly why it’s so important to check your information every so often. You can do that more easily with a site like PeopleFinders.
When you use PeopleFinders, you can try to check your own information. All you have to do is perform a people search on yourself to see what, if any, information is available, possibly including things you may not want people to know. From there, you can go to the sources of that data and attempt to clean up your online presence.
It can seem scary to learn that a company leaked your personal information. But you can take steps to better ensure your safety after it happens. The Equifax data breach is no different.
As with other privacy problems, it’s all about staying informed. Pay attention to the news, and use PeopleFinders to try and stay informed of your information. That way, you can get through the breach with little to no permanent harm.
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Categorized in: News