with Elizabeth Loewy,
Co-Founder and COO of EverSafe
Q: Say you’ve just heard in the news about another huge data breach affecting tens of millions. What should you do?
A: At this point, hundreds of millions—maybe billions—of personal records have been exposed in major breaches, like Equifax and Marriott. And those are just the biggest headlines. In 2019 so far, millions of records have already been compromised involving health care, government agencies, video games, financial advisors and consumer products.
The prudent course is for everyone to assume their personal information is at some risk.
What should you do? In certain cases, it may make sense to initiate a fraud alert, credit freeze or credit lock with the major credit bureaus. But people should understand that those measures provide only partial protection. As a former prosecutor, many of the theft cases I investigated never affected the victim’s credit report. Credit report monitoring will not identify potential fraud in most financial accounts.
That means you should closely monitor all your finances for erratic activity—depository accounts (like checking and savings accounts), retirement accounts, investment accounts and credit cards. Also, you should regularly change your passwords and don’t use the same ones over again.
Unfortunately, keeping a close eye on all financial accounts is not easy for everyone. When that’s the case, a technology service can be a lifesaver. Fintech tools now exist that can monitor credit—and beyond. They can analyze data across all financial accounts on a daily basis, spot suspicious activity, and send alerts to consumers and their designated trusted contacts.
These same tools can also scan the Dark Web to see if your personal information is exposed, including Social Security numbers, email addresses, passport numbers, and credit and debit card numbers.
Future data breaches are inevitable. That makes it vital to have a good defense—before there’s a crisis. Be proactive—for yourself and your loved ones.
TIP: To initiate a credit freeze, lock or alert, you need to contact each of the three major credit reporting agencies: TransUnion (888-909-8872), Equifax (800-685-1111) and Experian (888-397-3742).
To learn more about how to protect your financial accounts, including how to initiate a fraud alert and credit freeze, click on https://www.eversafe.com/resources-list/.