As you likely have already heard one of the largest credit bureaus in the United States admitted that it had been hacked allowing personal information from 143 million US citizens to fall into the wrong hands!
This information included people’s names Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses, and in some cases driver’s license numbers.
With a population of 324 million people in the U.S., this breach impacted about 44% of the population.
This means many people will no doubt be affected by this breach.
And this is not the first breach of security nor will it likely be the last so we all need to be prepared about how to protect ourselves.
Here are some steps you can take to protect yourself…
- Freeze Your Credit:
Many experts recommend that you freeze your credit.
This is the most iron-clad solution but it can be a burdensome one.
If you freeze your credit you will need to unlock your credit every time you have a legitimate need for your information like when you open an account or apply for a job or even when you buy insurance.
- Place a Fraud Alert On Your Credit Files:
This will alert potential creditors that you may be a victim of identity theft and that they should take extra steps to confirm verification.
- Review Your Statements:
Take a close look at your bank statements, your investment statements, your retirement accounts, and your credit card statements.
If you notice anything out of the ordinary notify the financial institution at once.
- Monitor Your Credit Report Regularly:
You can pay for a credit monitoring service or you can simply call one of the 3 major credit bureaus every 4 months and request a free report.
You are entitled to one free report per year so these options will cost you nothing.
You will be checking to see that there is no credit activity on your report that you do not recognize.
This will help you catch things early before they develop into major problems.
- Equifax Offer:
Equifax is offering consumers a free 1-year subscription to their identity theft protection service but If you take them up on their offer you might be forgoing the right to participate in any class action lawsuits against Equifax later on.
- Purchase ID Theft Protection:
This option will cost you a small monthly premium but might be well worth it.
Experian offers such a plan and so does LifeLock. My personal favorite is one through a multi-level marketing company called ID Shield.
They are the only plan to my knowledge that employs a team of licensed investigators that go to work for you to restore your identity if it has been stolen.
This feature can save you hours of time and make you whole again so you can get on with your life.
- Get Your FREE FTC Guide:
The Federal Trade Commission offers a free guide called, Taking Charge.
What to do if your identity is stolen.
It not only gives you step-by-step direction on what to do if your ID is stolen but it offers lots of good advice on how to protect yourself from having it stolen in the first place.
If you are a client of ours or interested in sitting down for a one-on-one Retire Right Blueprint strategy session we will provide you with this important 43-page document free of charge upon request or at your free session.
Contact us today for more details.
At Rockford Retirement we pride ourselves on providing important information like this to you when you need it most.
We get paid primarily to provide advice and help manage your money, but if we don’t also help you protect it from things like Identity theft then what kind of an advisory firm would we be?
To find out what other pitfalls we can help you avoid contact us today for a free Retire Right Blueprint strategy session.
There is no charge to meet and nothing to buy at this point. If that sounds like it would be helpful to you book it now while it is fresh on your mind.
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This information is designed to provide general information on the subjects covered, it is not, however, intended to provide specific legal or tax advice and cannot be used to avoid tax penalties or to promote, market, or recommend any tax plan or arrangement. Please note that RRP,Inc. and its affiliates do not give legal or tax advice. You are encouraged to consult your tax advisor or attorney.
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