Last week we heard about the Equifax data breach, and if you live in the United States you should just plan that your data was stolen. There is nothing you can do about this now. It is unfortunate, and disheartening, that executives knew about the breach as early as May but did not notify us until September. We are at their mercy here. What you can do about this is to continue to be vigilant about your credit…and your children’s credit…and your deceased relatives’ credit.
That’s right, just because your kids are underage and your dear ones have passed, doesn’t mean they are not a target. They all still have a social security number assigned to them and it can be used in cases of identity theft. Get new credit reports on all of you now and in a couple months, it will take time for any new activity on your credit to show up. Credit Karma is a good place to go to get free reports and tips on how to correct any issues. You can visit them here: creditkarma.com. The Federal Trade Commission is a great resource as well. You can order credit reports there, and put a freeze on your children’s credit. Here is their link at ftc.gov.
Going forward, you can get credit monitoring for suspicious activity with LifeLock or iLOCK360. In some cases, you can set up email notices when there is activity on your credit, login and see exactly who is looking at you and why. The LifeLock’s website is here and the iLOCK website is here. A final way to protect yourself is to have fraud alerts put on your credit cards. Call your card companies. With this most recent breach at Equifax and the quantity of people impacted, companies may have new processes to track and monitor your card.
Some statistics for you (collected prior to the 2017 Equifax breach):
- The global cost of cybercrime will reach $2 trillion by 2019, a threefold increase from the 2015 estimate of $500 billion.1
- A significant portion of cybercrime goes undetected.1
- According to the Identity Theft Resource Center’s (ITRC) “ITRC Data Breach Report,” more than 36 million records were exposed in 1,093 breaches across several industries and sectors in 2016. 2
- The cost of theft of trade secrets ranges from 1% to 3% of an entire nation’s gross domestic product (GDP). The cost ranges from $749 billion to $2.2 trillion annually.1
- Last year (2016), 38% more cybersecurity incidents were detected compared to the year prior.1
UPDATE: Check out an updated report by VPN Geeks with some staggering numbers for 2018 here. You need to know about your cell phone exposure, and they’ve got the stats.
My husband and I have been victims of identity theft and it is a scary thing to know some crook has all your personal information and can use it at their will. It is so important to continue to watch your credit. Credit is a key to your financial health and you must take care of it…and for your children…and for your relatives that have passed.
1 SecurityIntelligence.com, 20 Eye-Opening Cybercrime Statistics, Bill Laberis November 2016
2 Identity Theft Resource Center, ITRC Data Breach Reports Year End 2016, Cyberscout 2017
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