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143 million Americans. That number is staggering, to say the least.
If you’re an individual who was impacted by the Equifax data breach, GBQ recommends that you consider either enrolling in identity theft monitoring or (preferably) putting a freeze on your credit as soon as possible.
Equifax has been clumsy in their response to the incident. Poor communication, poor execution of the web site set up for people to check whether their identity is involved and the awful perception that executives may have traded stock prior to the announcement have created a customer service nightmare.
While we recommend continuing to follow announcements provided directly from Equifax as the situation unfolds, we believe your identify is too important to trust to the firm responsible for the breach in the first place.
Currently, the Federal Trade Commission’s blog provides further information about what to do if your identity was exposed by this Equifax breach.
As always, GBQ recommends taking the following precautions to protect your identity when conducting business online:
- Always check for HTTPS in the URL before entering sensitive information (i.e., passwords, account numbers) into any webpage.
- Avoid conducting sensitive online business transactions over open/public WiFi.
- Avoid clicking on links or opening attachments in unsolicited email messages.
- Use strong passwords for websites that contain sensitive, personal information. If possible, use a password manager to protect those passwords.
- Always use a secure device (i.e., fully patched, running antivirus, not jailbroken or rooted) when accessing these sites.
- Update your social media privacy settings to avoid exposing information attackers might use when targeting your online accounts (especially password reset clues tied to your secret questions/answers).