Blog

Equifax security breach – what you can do

The news is buzzing with information on the latest security breach. Equifax, one of three major U.S. credit bureaus, reported on Thursday that identity thieves stole the Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and driver’s license numbers of approximately 143 million Americans.

Sigh. So, what now?

Sadly, we’ve become overly familiar with this type of headline. Even so, don’t let your guard slip. Consider these practical, do-it-yourself suggestions for actions you can take today.

  1. 143 million is a lot of Americans. Check Equifax’s website to see if your personal information may be among the ones stolen. Access the Equifax website search here or call 866-447-7559 to speak to a customer service representative.
     
  2. If Equifax indicates your information is at risk, they recommend registering for 3-bureau credit monitoring through TrustedID. Equifax is making this service available free of charge to all U.S. consumers for one year. Before you enroll, however, be aware of speculation in the press and social media regarding concerns with the fine print in TrustedID’s terms of use.  If you’ve read up and still choose to enroll, you can do so by following the Equifax search link above.
     
  3. Registering for TrustedID can be a confusing process. Signing up once is not enough; you must also complete a verification step on or after your Enrollment Date (assigned to you when you register). Unless you return to the website and verify your request on or after the Enrollment Date, your credit protection will not go into effect.
     
  4. TrustedID gives you the option to freeze your Equifax credit report, but there are three major credit reporting agencies and freezing credit with only one of three provides dubious protection. Particularly if you choose not to enroll in TrustedID, SYM recommends implementing a security freeze with all three agencies. With a security freeze in place, be prepared to take extra steps to apply for new credit as the freeze works to block fraudulent attempts by others to obtain credit in your name.
    Freeze your Transunion report here. 
    Freeze your Experian report here.  
    Freeze your Equifax report here.
     
  5. Finally, consider putting a security freeze on your Chex Systems consumer report. Banks and credit unions use Chex Systems to identify accounts closed due to bank fraud, ATM abuse, substantial NSF transactions, overdrafts or similar, negative information. By placing a security freeze with Chex Systems, you can help prevent credit, loans, and services from being approved in your name without your consent. Once protection is in place, new account activity such as opening a bank account will be prohibited until you lift or remove the freeze, though normal banking activity should remain uninterrupted.
    Freeze your Chex Systems report here.

As always, feel welcome to contact your SYM team with specific questions or concerns.

The opinions expressed herein are those of SYM Financial Corporation LLC (“SYM”) and are subject to change without notice. This material is not financial advice or an offer to sell any product. SYM reserves the right to modify its current investment strategies and techniques based on changing market dynamics or client needs.  This is not a recommendation to buy or sell a particular security. SYM is an independent investment adviser registered under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, as amended. Registration does not imply a certain level of skill or training. More information about SYM including our investment strategies, fees and objectives can be found in our ADV Part 2, which is available upon request.

Having trouble freezing your credit?
Value Added By A Financial Advisor