The Equifax breach of 2017 has created quite a bit of anxiety for those who have worked hard to build or maintain good credit. It is important to do whatever it takes to avoid the possibility of identity theft. The following tips will help individuals to access protection tools and resources that can help them be as proactive as possible about this situation.
Some of the Facts About The Breach.
Equifax has stated that about 143 million accounts were jeopardized during the breach. The hackers were able to access social security number, addresses, credit card numbers, birth dates, and much more. This breach has sparked a desire by consumers to try and protect themselves as soon as possible.
Will Freezing Credit Provide Protection?
A credit freeze will stop the hackers from opening new credit accounts or loans. The entire process can be a bit of a hassle because individuals will need to contact all three credit bureaus to request the freeze. This would be the only way for the freeze to be effective and the individual would need to request a lift on the freeze each time they have personal credit needs.
Is a Credit Freeze a Good Option For Everyone?
The Equifax phone lines currently have extremely long wait times, and their website has been constantly crashing since the breach. If an individual wanted to place a freeze on their credit, it would be extremely difficult at this time. If consumers are planning to purchase a car or home in the near future then experts recommend waiting until after the purchase to consider freezing their credit.
The Good News.
It is unsettling for consumers to know their credit card information may be in the hands of hackers. The good news is most financial institutions now have excellent tools and resources that help to protect account holder from fraudulent charges. Individuals should consider requesting replacement credit or debit cards for accounts that may have been involved in the breach at Equifax.
Now is the time to be proactive and do what it takes to protect personal information. Take the time needed to make informed choices about the benefits and possible pitfalls of going through with a credit freeze.