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Have you done anything to protect yourself since the Equifax data breach?


Road Runner
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49 minutes ago, Road Runner said:

I've also read that with your data, someone can file your income tax return (before you do) and steal your refund.  Seems like it would be difficult to do, but apparently it does happen.

It happens a lot. I have a friend who is still going through the fallout three years later.

My wife works in identity and access management for a large financial corp (not one of the ones that have been breached), and put together these recommendations based on her research and her experience in the industry. Rather than cut and past it here, I'll attach a document. Basically what she is recommending is to request your free annual credit report from each of the big three (not freecreditreport.com or creditkarma.com), then lock down your report. You will also want to go to SSA.gov and add second-factor-authentication to your account. If you haven't setup an online account with them, do it and lock it down before someone else does. If you have kids with SSNs, do all of the above for them as well. When a child's SSN gets stolen or used fraudulently, it often isn't discovered until they mature and file taxes for the first time.

Here's what she put together:

Equifax Train Wreck.docx

 

Oh, and if credit monitoring makes you feel better, do it but don't use the free one Equifax is offering. These are the same people that didn't protect your data in the first place. Also, get those free reports from all three every year and look them over. The fallout from this will be happening for a very long time.

 

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I've done nothing. Note that if you freeze your credit there's generally a fee for it and you can't unfreeze it instantly. So if there's a set of steak knives at Macy's if you sign up for their store card, etc. you can't do it.  The same if you see a booth at Costco the next time they switch cards (they were Discover Card in the '80's, changed to American Express, then last year switched to Visa) - you can't sign up for the new one unless you activate your credit, then wait 3 days so you can sign up for new stuff.

Note that what was stolen was name, Soc.Sec. No., and that can be used in the distant future, so if you're going to freeze, you may need to do so for decades.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I put a freeze on my credit files. A freeze is free, at least in VA. There is a fee to lock and unlock your credit file. I also put pass codes on my credit union accounts. Usually, their identity check is DOB and last four of SSN. Those are on the dark web already with past mailing addresses, email addresses, passwords and that I am afraid of speaking in public.

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33 minutes ago, Old#7 said:

I put a freeze on my credit files. A freeze is free, at least in VA. There is a fee to lock and unlock your credit file.

I froze mine. That is the terminology they used.  A security freeze.  Equifax did not charge me because of the breach.  Experion and TransUnion each charged me $10.

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I have paid credit monitoring from way back when PlayStation networks were hacked. I got two free years of AllClearID premium service thanks to Sony then I continued to pay for the services since I do a lot of transactions online.

I also have free monitoring from Discover. I got a notification from my monitoring service saying they upped my account alert threshold as soon as the breach was announced.

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Here's an update to my previous post on this thread.  I was going to reference an old article from Yahoo "Secrets of a former credit card thief" in my previous post, but it's no longer on the Yahoo site. A little Googling shows it's been copied and posted on a lot of other sites, the complete article is here:

h/ttps://www.creditcards.com/credit-card-news/secrets-former-credit-card-thief-dan-defelippi-1282.php

One of the things the former thief recommends is using Intuit-owned mint.com.  You can keep track of all your credit cards, bank, stock, etc. info. There.  Most of my liquid assets are in stocks and bonds and I don't list them with mint.com because they're insured and I don't need to check them often - it would be hard for someone to get the info needed to raid them.

But it's a great place to frequently check from a user-friendly single site my six credit cards (I max. my cash-back) and bank checking, savings, and CD totals.  In the credit card fraud victim topic I posted, about once a week I reconcile my own budget lists of credit card purchases against the lists in mint.com, and that's how I quickly found the unusual small charges. If there were any large charges I'd have found them much sooner - both the credit card companies and mint send me emails/texts about large charges.

 

Previous post.

I've done nothing. Note that if you freeze your credit there's generally a fee for it and you can't unfreeze it instantly. So if there's a set of steak knives at Macy's if you sign up for their store card, etc. you can't do it.  The same if you see a booth at Costco the next time they switch cards (they were Discover Card in the '80's, changed to American Express, then last year switched to Visa) - you can't sign up for the new one unless you activate your credit, then wait 3 days so you can sign up for new stuff.

Note that what was stolen was name, Soc.Sec. No., and that can be used in the distant future, so if you're going to freeze, you may need to do so for decades.

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