A very large credit service recently reported a breach of personal credit information of nearly 143 million people, this should alarm us all. If you were one of the 143 million, you probably want to learn about credit breach precautions.
Information that was compromised may have included your Social Security number, address, phone numbers, tax return information, loans and credit card information to name a few very important personal items that an identity thief would love to use and sell.
The breach lasted from mid-May through July. They also grabbed personal information of people in the UK and Canada.
How bad is the potential damage? BAD!!
Clark Howard, a money expert, says “this data breach is the worst we’ve seen in modern history — and Americans will be feeling the impact for years — and in some cases, forever.“
The information that was leaked is exactly what criminals need to wreak havoc on a person’s entire life. This stolen info is both financial and personal. It can take several years to repair certain aspects of your finances. For some people, their financial life will never be repaired.
It is extremely crucial that you understand the implications of the hack and what you can do to protect yourself moving forward.
The Federal Trade Commission suggests steps to take to help protect your information from being misused at this website.
Here are a few action items you need to be aware of to hold off a credit thief:
- Tax return information may be compromised and someone could file a return unknown to you and get your refund. The IRS offers a so-called Identity Protecting PIN’s, or IP PINs. Check out the IRS web site for more information.
- The IRS also warns that receiving certain tax documents or IRS notices – like a CP2000 – to verify unreported income or a 1099 from an employer you HAVEN’T worked for can be a Red Flag for employment related identity theft.
- Watch fraud alerts or credit monitoring services to stop thieves from opening accounts in your name.
- File an Identity-Theft Affidavit. Check out this web site for more information!
- Constantly monitor your bank and other money accounts, credit card purchases and tax return information.
This looks like the way of the future. You owe it to yourself and your family to pay closer attention to your credit and account activity.