The Bad News
Nearly half the population of the United States has recently had their personal information stolen from one of the three major credit bureaus. To ensure you are focused on the most important actions you can take to protect your credit and protect you against identity theft, we’ve provided this guidance. Please take the time to read the federal government’s help at the Federal Trade Commission web site. Go now. Do not pass Go, do not collect $200.
The Good News
The short version of the FTC guidance:
- Check your credit report.
- Consider putting a credit freeze on your accounts with all three major credit bureaus. There is a cost associated, usually $10-20.
- Check your credit card and bank account activity closely every month.
- If you don’t want to do a credit freeze, consider asking for fraud alerts. Depending on the credit agency, there may be a cost associated.
- File your income tax return as soon as possible. One scam associated with this type of hack is using your name and social security number to file a false return and ask for any refund to be paid to the criminal.
One of the things I would recommend, in addition to the fine guidance given by the FTC, is to go create an account on the Social Security Administration web site if you haven’t already. If you have put a credit freeze on your accounts already, you will either need to lift that freeze temporarily or go in person to your local SSA office. In addition, you might want to learn more about how credit bureaus work. You can look at a great article that covers what credit bureaus do and what they gather on you.