There has been a multitude of articles in recent days discussing the detail of the Equifax data breach as well as what steps consumers might take resulting from the breach. This isn’t one of those articles. Linked below are several such articles. The purpose of this article is to briefly outline what we are doing personally. As noted at the bottom of this page, what we are doing isn’t necessarily the best solution and certainly isn’t the best solution for every other person’s unique circumstances but we thought it might be of interest.
- Credit Freeze – John decided to put a credit freeze in place by going online to each of the three credit bureaus. He will have to “thaw” his credit if he wants to open a new credit card, obtain a car loan, mortgage, etc. in the future. The following link has a good discussion of this: http://clark.com/personal-finance-credit/credit-freeze-and-thaw-guide/
- Credit Card Alerts – Both John and Doug contacted their credit cards (online but presumably could be done by phone as well) and instituted alerts that can be sent via email or text if certain transactions take place. In our case, we will receive emails if an online, phone or mail charge is made, if a charge of any kind over $75 occurs, or if an international charge has posted to the account. Adding these alerts was very simple to do online.
- Credit reports – we will be reviewing our credit reports from each of the three credit reporting services on a staggered four month basis (to take advantage of the free annual credit report). This can be done by visiting www.AnnualCreditReport.com.
- Credit monitoring – Doug previously had in place a limited credit monitoring service. John is considering signing up for an Identity Theft Protection Service. The following link provides information on various services: http://www.toptenreviews.com/services/protection/best-identity-theft-protection-services/
- Brokerage password – Charles Schwab has the ability to add additional security measures to accounts. John and Doug both added a password to our accounts so that someone contacting Schwab will be required to provide a password before Schwab will discuss account details or process transactions based on verbal instructions. A password is already required to access accounts online. Schwab institutional account holders can request a password be added to their accounts by calling 800-515-2157. For security purposes, we can’t participate in this call with clients.
Again, this isn’t an exhaustive discussion of possible solutions but might be of assistance for practical ideas of some of the approaches that can be taken. Below are some links to additional articles:
Douglas M. Lynch, CPA, CFA, CFP
September 13, 2017
This discussion is for informational purposes only and does not constitute a recommendation of what is appropriate in other situations. The best approach depends on your own specific circumstances. Please call us if you would like to discuss your own circumstances further.