- Theresa Seiger, Cox Media Group National Content Desk
Credit reporting juggernaut Equifax announced Thursday that its information was compromised in a major cyberattack affecting 143 million Americans – or two-thirds of people with credit reports.
Hackers were able to get birth dates, Social Security numbers, credit card numbers and addresses, according to Equifax, leaving some to wonder how they can protect themselves.
Here are some tips for ensuring your information is secure:
Don’t bother with Equifax’s monitoring service, Clark.com reported, noting that the company offering the service is the same one that was hacked.
“The only way to truly protect yourself is with a credit freeze,” Clark.com reported, recommending that people freeze their credit files with all three of America’s major credit reporting companies: Equifax, Experian and Transunion. Doing so does not affect whether or not a person can use already existing lines of credit.
Whether or not you decide to put a fraud alert on your credit file, you can still obtain a free credit report once every 12 months from each of the credit bureaus. The reports can be obtained through annualcreditreport.com or by completing and mailing an annual credit report request form, according to the Federal Trade Commission.
You may order your reports from each of the three nationwide credit reporting companies at the same time, or you can order your report from each of the companies one at a time. The law allows you to order one free copy of your report from each of the nationwide credit reporting companies every 12 months.View full experience