Globalization, political instability, and technological advancements have created opportunities for those who seek to steal and exploit financial data. The recent Equifax data breach has proven once again that no-one is immune to cybersecurity threats.
Those cybercriminals were able to gain access to names, addresses, social security numbers, birth dates, credit card numbers, and other sensitive information of approximately 143 million people. The breach was attributed to a vulnerability in the Equifax website enabling the criminals to access this data. Equifax has created a special website where individuals can verify if their personal information was compromised.
If you believe your personal information was compromised, there are several immediate steps you can take to secure your personal financial data, including:
- Obtain a credit report: Annualcreditreport.com offers free credit reports from the three, main credit reporting agencies at Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.
- Apply for a credit-monitoring service. Most banks offer a credit monitoring service to customers for a nominal, monthly fee.
- Freeze your credit. A credit freeze can be requested for a nominal fee from all three credit-reporting agencies.
- Request a fraud alert. If freezing your credit is not a viable option, a fraud alert may be requested from the three credit reporting agencies.
- Closely monitor all your financial accounts (bank, credit card, investments, loans, etc.).
If you or your business have been affected in any way by the Equifax breach, or need guidance and advice with cybersecurity matters, the advisors of LB Goodman & Co are here to help.