Remaining Diligent on Identity TheftSubmitted by S. F. Ehrlich Associates, Inc. on November 15th, 2017
November 15, 2017
The Equifax data breach has kept the topic of identity theft near the front pages. A recent article in the New York Times1 highlighted the 10 steps you should consider to help protect yourself:
- File your taxes as soon as possible to reduce the chance that a criminal will get your refund.
- Ask your doctors’ offices for copies of your medical files, just in case criminals try to file a claim in your name and mess up your records.
- Go paperless so you can easily monitor your accounts, but don’t fall prey to e-mails that look like they’re from your bank or credit card company.
- Dedicate one computer or prepaid cellphone for all your financial activity. “…keeping your online banking and bill paying separate from your daily web browsing and email use makes your information harder to track.”
- Open a My Social Security account with the Social Security Administration. “Doing so will stop thieves from creating their own account in your name, and redirecting your benefits.”
- Freeze your credit files at all three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion). And don’t forget “the lesser known Innovis.”
- Sign up for free fraud alerts from the credit bureaus.
- Read your credit reports. “Pull a free report from each of the big three bureaus every four months, in effect becoming your own monitoring service. You can access one free report annually from each bureau at annualcreditreport.com. (12 months divided by 3 credit bureaus = 1 every 4 months.)
- Consider free credit monitoring but understand the terms first. “Credit Karma will monitor your credit files at Equifax and TransUnion at no cost, but earns money by making offers for credit cards and other financial services for its customers.”
- Keep as few accounts as possible (i.e. less to track).
1 Siegel Bernard, Tara. “Is It Time to Consider an Identity Protection Service?” The New York Times, 30 Oct. 2017.