New York Times
By: TARA SIEGEL BERNARD, TIFFANY HSU, NICOLE PERLROTH and RON LIEBER
Equifax, one of the three major consumer credit reporting agencies, said on Thursday that hackers had gained access to company data that potentially compromised sensitive information for 143 million American consumers, including Social Security numbers and driver’s license numbers.
The attack on the company represents one of the largest risks to personally sensitive information in recent years, and is the third major cybersecurity threat for the agency since 2015. Read More....
The following information was provided to me in an email alert from TransUnion.
Staying informed is very important when it comes to preventing further damage to your credit. Sometimes the company, such as AT&T, will take additional steps to solved the security breach, while other times by the time you are informed, it is too late and you must take steps on your own to protect yourself.
Whether or not you've been affected by this incident, you could be next – play it safe & protect yourself now with TransUnion.
AT&T Mobility has recently confirmed that it has suffered a data breach. The personal information (Social Security numbers and call records) of an undisclosed number of AT&T Mobility customers was stolen. The breach was alleged to have occurred earlier this year, April 9 through 21. The criminals appear to have been interested in information they could use to unlock phones they had already stolen. Since Social Security numbers were also involved, users are strongly encouraged to take steps to protect their identity.
TransUnion recommends taking the following precautions immediately, for protection & peace of mind:
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A Credit Freeze is a viable option to help protect yourself from identity theft. A Credit Freeze sometimes called a Security Freeze does give you maximum control over your credit by preventing lender and other from accessing your credit report.
However, there are few things to consider before placing the Credit Freeze such as:
1) Are you planning on making any large purchases in the near future in which you would need to access you credit report? Not only does this freeze prevent others from accessing your credit, but it can make it cumbersome for you to access it as well. It can be done, however be ready to have to jump through some additional verification and financial hoops.
2) A credit freeze is permanent until you notify the three major credit reporting companies – TransUnion, Equifax and Experian. Even though, it is rather simple to put the Freeze into place. It can and should be done with each of the credit reporting companies for it to be effective as quickly as possible. It can be done by phone, or by mail or online by answering some vital financial questions. However, to lift or remove the Credit Freeze you must notify all three credit reporting companies by telephone automated system or in writing and then allow typically 3 days for processing.
3) There are fees associated with placing, lift or removing a Credit Freeze. For most states it is $10.00 to place a Freeze, lift a Freeze or remove it completely. Florida fees are: No fees for identity theft victims and seniors 65 years and older. All others pay $10 to place the Freeze, lift it temporarily, or remove it altogether.
So, be sure to plan ahead. If you are concerned with identity theft and you know that in the near future you will need to make a large purchase in which you will need to access you credit, consider a credit monitoring service like LifeLock. There are many options to choose from and most of the options allow for month to month contracts. SO once you have made your large purchase, you can cancel the credit monitoring service and you can place a freeze on your credit.
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Jennifer is committed to helping her clients as well as other folks improve their daily financial circumstances by providing simple financial solutions.