We are still trying to process the extent of the Equifax data breach. What we know is Equifax has publicly stated that 143 million American consumers have been affected. We can run the numbers, but the gist is that ½ to ¾ of the credit consumers in this country have had their personally identifiable information stolen.
Your odds of being one of those people with their personal information out there for potentially bad actors to access is greater than a random flip of the coin. The types of information stolen is more significant than in past hacks. Full names, SSN’s, driver’s license numbers, birthdates, past credit events, credit inquiries, and the list goes on. Our lives are documented thoroughly by our credit history.
This data theft event is different because this time it more than likely includes you, and it includes a lot of information about you. Our advice if you do not need to open a new credit line, mortgage or refinance: Freeze Your Credit.
Data protection is serious business to us and we will stand by your side to get power over your information back in your hands.
It is not worthwhile to try to find out if your information was stolen before acting. The reason is they (Equifax) cannot tell you for sure if it was or was not. A credit freeze does not prevent you from having access to your existing lines of credit. It does prevent future lines from being opened unless you “thaw” your credit beforehand. Now is a great time to become your own CIPO. This acronym may or may not have been made up by others, but we are calling it the Chief Identity Protection Officer.
This is a great starting point for finding out how you can be proactive on monitoring your credit and your identity. Lifelock, credit monitoring services, and other identity theft services are not going to be foolproof. At the end of the day, taking control of monitoring your own data is the best approach possible.
Enabling you and your family to make a lifetime of rational, informed and well-reasoned financial decisions gives us purpose in what we do. Helping you be protected from data thieving bad guys is a part of that.
Thank you for your continued trust.
Sincerely, Financial Accounting Services