The Equifax Breach – Freedom Debt Relief Points Out New Things to Look For

| October 19, 2017

Equifax BreachAs much as we’d all like the Equifax breach to just go away, the fact remains that personal information for 143 million Americans was affected. Even if nothing has happened yet to you, you can’t help but feel that it could, at any moment.

Like most people, you’ve probably done the obvious things like keep regular tabs on your credit, sign up for the free credit monitoring that Equifax has offered, and update your passwords.

However, according to Freedom Debt Relief, there are other ways that hackers can use your information that you may not be aware of. Here are the top things to look out for that you may not already know.

Hackers Can Use Your Information to File False Tax Returns

Not only can hackers use your personal information to open new credit cards and loans, they can also use this information to file taxes and collect your hard-earned return.

If someone has your social security information, they could easily hang on to it until the year is up and use it to file a return for you. Only they keep the money, not you. Freedom Debt Relief recommends that you file as early as possible.

It may not stop the hackers, but it reduces the chance that they file before you do. Otherwise, when you go to file your return, you’ll receive the unpleasant news that it was already filed. Additionally, you can request a security pin from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) if you have been a victim of identity theft.

Scams Come in Many Forms

Criminals are crafty – especially cyber criminals. Once they have your personal information, there are so many ways they can exploit it. Their scams come in many different forms, so beware.

Don’t share your personal information online, through email, or even over the phone to just anyone who requests it. If you were not expecting the request, then there is a good chance that it is a scam.

According to Freedom Debt Relief, it is best to shred any documents that you receive in the mail offering credit cards, or that have your personal information on them. You can also switch your bills to electronic delivery to avoid your information being stolen.

Your Children’s Information Could Be at Risk

Another thing to watch for that you may not be aware of is your children’s personal information. Unfortunately, criminals are now using children’s social security numbers to take out loans and open credit cards.

Freedom Debt Relief suggests that as your kids begin to reach their teenage years, it is a good idea to regularly monitor their credit report as you do your own. Most should not have any credit record at all. If they do, check it to ensure it is something legitimate. If you suspect fraud, report it immediately. You can also put a freeze on their credit.

Thieves Sometimes “Test” the Waters

While you probably know to monitor your credit cards and bank accounts for large, unauthorized purchases, make sure to look for the little ones too. Freedom Debt Relief warns that thieves will often test the waters by seeing if they can get away with a purchase for one dollar or a few cents.

If these little purchases go through, then they will try to make a larger transaction. So, make it a habit to check your accounts at least once a week, if not more often.

By taking steps to protect your credit, you can help to reduce the risk of identity theft, even in the wake of the Equifax breach.


Category: Consumer Complaints, Credit, Identity Theft

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