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10 More Ways to Protect Your Financial Information Post-Equifax

by Thomas Ressler

In the wake of the expanding investigation of the massive Equifax data breach, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau followed up on previous suggestions to safeguard yourself by issuing a new list of 10 ways you can protect your financial information.

  1. Check your credit report. You are entitled to one free credit report every 12 months from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. You can request yours from annualcreditreport.com.
  2. Put a security freeze on your credit reports. This will prevent others – and you – from opening a new account until it is lifted.
  3. Set up a fraud alert, which will require a financial institution to confirm your identify before opening a new account, issuing another card, or raising a credit limit.
  4. Scrutinize your bank and credit card statements, with an eye towards charges you did not make or authorize.
  5. Watch out for unexpected bills from unknown creditors. They could reveal someone else has misappropriated your information and opened up an account in your name.
  6. Shred documents with sensitive personal financial information. Safeguard hard copies of data you need and shred them when you’re done.
  7. Change the passwords for all your financial accounts. It would be a good idea to do the same with all your online e-commerce websites and mobile apps.
  8. File your taxes as soon as possible. An identity thief can use your Social Security number to claim a refund. And don’t ignore any official letters from the IRS.
  9. If you are active-duty military, you are entitled to additional safeguards. The CFPB has more information on its website.
  10. If you are the parent or guardian of a minor and suspect your child’s information has been compromised, the Federal Trade Commission has a list of protective measures to take.

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