Protect Your Credit and Identity
With the recent major cybersecurity breach at the credit reporting agency Equifax, it is more important than ever to check your credit report. Information stolen includes names, social security numbers, birth dates, addresses, and driver’s license numbers. Equifax has set up a website www.equifaxsecurity2017.com to check if your information was compromised. At the bottom of the site, there is a tab “Am I Impacted.” Once you click on the tab, you need to enter your last name and the last six digits of your social security number and it will tell you if your information has been compromised. At the end of the site will allow you to enroll in a one year of free credit monitoring even if you have not been affected.
One year of credit monitoring is not enough though. Having your personal information stolen can have a life-long impact on you. When a credit card is stolen, you just need to get a new card with a new number. You can’t get a new social security number or date of birth. Many fraudsters wait a year or two until things have settled down to start using your personal information. You need to check your credit report annually. The three credit service agencies have created a website www.annualcreditreport.com which allows you to request, view, and print your credit reports.
When looking at your report you need to check that all the accounts listed are yours and that notices of late payments that you believe were paid on time are corrected. Any delinquencies that are more than seven years old are taken off of your report. Any errors on your report will lower your FICO score which may impact your ability to get a loan.
You can also call 877-322-8228 or write to Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281 to request your report. The law allows you to order one free copy from each of the agencies every 12 months.
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