Unfortunately cyber security is an ongoing issue, and many companies entrusted with our data are being breached. The credit-rating agency, Equifax, recently disclosed it was hacked, compromising 143 million consumers' personal information. With this information, someone could open a credit account tied to your social security number. There are several steps you can take to protect yourself from potential identity theft.
As a result of the hack, Equifax is offering 1 year of free credit monitoring through TrustedID.
Review the details of your credit report at AnnualCreditReport.com for any unusual activity. You can request your credit reports for free from all three bureaus once per year.
Many credit card companies (including Discover, Citi, Barclays, Amex) offer a free monthly credit score. Be sure to monitor changes to your credit score from month-to-month.
Lastly you can "freeze" your credit. This service blocks potential creditors from accessing your credit report, preventing anyone (including you) from opening credit accounts tied to your social security number. Freezing your credit requires calling or completing an online application at each of the 3 credit bureaus. Each time you freeze, unfreeze, or temporarily lift a freeze, you'll have to pay a fee. Follow each of the links below to freeze your credit: