True Link blog

The Equifax Breach and Your Financial Safety

Published by:
Jessica Arden
|
September 18, 2017

Updated October 10, 2018.

It’s not too late to take action on the Equifax breach! A lot of our customers share our concern about the massive breach. We’ll tell you how you can address the security breach and protect yourself in the future.

What happened?

More than 145 million Americans had their financial security compromised last week when Equifax's software was breached. Think of the breach like a small crack in Equifax’s security wall that a hacker was able to get through. While a patch has since been applied to fix the crack, hackers were able to access millions of Social Security numbers, names, birthdays, addresses, and driver's license numbers.To check if your information was compromised, go to https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/ and enter your information.

Should you be concerned?

The short answer is "Yes." True Link takes any level of financial risk very seriously. As such, we want to make sure all of our customers understand the seriousness of what happened during the Equifax breach. But don’t worry — it’s not too late to take action!

What can you do to protect your credit and identity?

1) Set up credit monitoring

The easiest and quickest way to defend yourself is to set up credit monitoring. One of your credit card providers may already provide you this service. If not, we recommend going to creditkarma.com and registering for free. Credit Karma will monitor credit inquiries and credit score changes and provide you real-time alerts about any activity. If you get a notification of something that doesn't look right, it could be a signal that your information has been compromised. You can then immediately take action before more damage is done.

2) Freeze your credit reports

An even stronger defense is freezing your credit. This means that potential creditors will be be prevented from accessing your credit report. That way, other people cannot use your personal information to get credit cards, loans, and other services. This will not, however, prevent an identity thief from making changes to an existing account. If you are considering applying for a new credit card, an apartment rental, a car lease, or a mortgage, you will have to temporarily lift the freeze in order to get approved. This freeze-lifting can sometimes be a time-consuming process and may delay you for a few days. Therefore, if you need potential creditors to check your credit report any time soon, this may not be a good option for you.While placing a freeze can be a headache and does cost money (in some cases $5-$10 to set and to lift freezes), it is the best way to prevent identity thieves from opening new accounts in your name. You can place a freeze by calling each of the major credit agencies:

  • Equifax — 1-800-349-9960
  • Experian — 1‑888‑397‑3742
  • TransUnion — 1-888-909-8872

Make sure to note the PIN each agency provides you — you’ll need this to unfreeze your credit.

3) Place an Initial Fraud Alert 

If it's not a good time for a full credit freeze, as an added layer of protection, you can place a 90-day Initial Fraud Alert. This will require businesses to contact you to verify your identity before issuing any credit. To place an Initial Fraud Alert, contact one of the credit agencies listed above and confirm that they will contact the other two. You'll need to renew this every 90 days. For more details, click here to view the instructions from the Federal Trade Commission. 

4) Review activity on your open accounts regularly

The above services and suggestions are most effective at preventing or identifying when someone opens a new account in your name. Another risk is a thief gaining access to one of your already open credit cards or bank accounts. To catch this right away, we recommend reviewing the activity history on your accounts regularly and signing up for any available account activity alerts. 

Are you safe with True Link?

True Link is dedicated to protecting vulnerable groups of people from financial fraud and scams. Protecting you and your loved ones is part of our company’s DNA. We go to great lengths to ensure your information is always secure. For more detailed information about how we do that, please read the security section of our FAQ here.If you have any questions or concerns, you can always contact us at 1-866-984-8576.

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