Unsettling news and life disruptions seem to be in the headlines recently – from hurricane flooding to political unrest to a shocking financial security breach. The Equifax credit monitoring agency data breach is in the news daily and it leaves many consumers confused and angry.
At LD Lowe Wealth Advisory, we help you plan for a secure financial future. We want to help you protect yourself from possible identity theft, credit card fraud and misuse of personal financial data.
Here is an action plan – steps you can do NOW to help protect your financial identity:
- Find out if your data is affected. Equifax has set up a quick and easy to use web portal at equifax.com. If you are affected, we recommend that you not rely solely on Equifax’s offer to monitor your credit report free for one year. Instead, we recommend that you subscribe to to an identity protection service, such as LifeLock.
- Ask for a free credit report not only from Equifax, but also from the other two credit monitoring agencies, Experian and TransUnion. You are entitled to a free report per person each year from each company: equifax.com , www.experian.com and www.transunion.com.
- If you don’t need to have your credit accessed in the next few months (i.e., you need to apply for loan, by a house, start a business, etc.), place a security freeze on your accounts with all three credit monitoring agencies. You can follow these links to register the freeze on each of the three agencies:
- Update and change your passwords often and make them complex. A good rule of thumb is to use a phrase rather than a series of letters or numbers you find difficult to remember.
- Request personal banking institutions add multi-step authentication process to your accounts.
- Review all your financial statements (bank checking, savings, credit card, mortgage, loan and brokerage accounts) regularly. Look for any unusual activity.
- Brace for a flood of phishing scams. Be suspicious of any emails that are not from verified sources.
Being alert and prepared can help you protect your financial security.