What to do after the massive Equifax hack
The Equifax hack, which exposed Social Security numbers and other data for millions of Americans, could trigger an epidemic of identity theft.
In the U.S., 143 million were affected; an unknown number were hit in Canada and the U.K. Here’s what everyone should do:
● Get the free credit monitoring Equifax is offering for a year. The deadline is Nov. 21. But be aware that after this expires, you’re still at risk. Thieves will have access to your information for far longer than a year, and much of it – a home address, a birth date, a driver’s license number, a name – is difficult or impossible to change.
● You have free access to your credit report from each of the three major agencies, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, once a year. Pull them in rotation and review them for new accounts you didn’t open. ● Freeze your credit reports from the three agencies. Of course, there’s often a fee involved. But this stops thieves from taking out loans or opening credit cards in your name. When you need to apply for a loan or mortgage yourself, lift the freeze. Freezes won’t protect you completely. Thieves can still use your name on a tax return, for example.