The number of people affected by the Equifax data breach announced in September 2017 just keeps rising. Equifax admitted on March 1 that 2.4 million more consumers than they’d previously reported were affected in the breach. That brings the number to 147.9 million.
“The affected people’s compromised information involves partial driver’s license data,” according to this Washington Post story. “It does not include Social Security numbers, which was the focus of earlier analyses of the breach and the reason this group of consumers was not identified sooner, according to the credit reporting company.”
Initially, Equifax had said 143 million consumers were affected. Then they raised that number to 145.5 million. Really, it’s probably best to just assume you’ve been affected. Even IRS Commissioner John Koskinen says you should just assume your identity has been stolen. That being said, what are some of the things you can do now to stay safe? We’re glad you asked.
Four Things to Do Now
- Monitor Your Credit
This is easy to do for free and really, it’s worth taking the time to mark it off your to-do list. But just remember, the threat of the Equifax breach is ongoing. It’s not going to do you any good to watch your credit report closely for a few months and then get complacent and stop.
- Sign Up for an Identity Theft Restoration Membership
Did you know the average identity theft victim spends up to hundreds of hours trying to repair the damage? If you have a membership for identity theft restoration, that time is significantly reduced. LibertyID is an identity theft restoration company. There’s no limit to the time or money we will spend restoring your identity to pre-event status. If you’re a LibertyID member and your identity is stolen, we will fix it.A certified restoration specialist will handle all of the legwork (like submitting disputes to lending institutions, utility companies, cell phone carriers, etc. and researching and documenting erroneous info on your credit file and having it removed). They will keep you informed with regular status updates.
- Watch Your Accounts Closely
Be sure and keep a close eye on your bank and investment statements. Consider looking at them weekly rather than monthly. Also, watch the Explanation of Benefits statements from your health insurance company. You can’t be vigilant enough.
- Freeze Your Credit
We definitely recommend that you freeze your credit (here’s how). Be sure you freeze your credit instead of locking it. For the lowdown on the difference between the two, check this out. The credit bureaus are pushing people to lock their credit rather than freeze it, but a freeze is definitely the better route. It’s important to note that while a credit freeze might be a good line of defense, there are also limitations. While it does help prevent some new accounts requiring a credit check from being opened (not all new accounts require a credit check), it doesn’t safeguard the accounts you already have open. Plus, it won’t prevent all types of identity theft. Again, there are many serious forms of identity theft that won’t show up on your credit report, including criminal identity theft, Social Security identity theft, employment identity theft, tax identity theft and medical identity theft. Again, a credit freeze is only one defense against identity theft.
The bottom line is there’s really no better time than the present to become a LibertyID member. We’re the AAA of identity theft protection, offering the most effective identity theft restoration service. But just like with AAA, you have to get covered before there’s an incident.