Hello friends and family! I’ve made this post simply so that I don’t have to answer a million emails, phone calls, and text messages. I’m the one in A LOT of people’s circles that constantly get asked about security (since I used to be a hacker) I’ve also worked with some of the largest security hacking (legally) companies in the world that are responsible for the FED, Bank of America, Nasdaq, and several other major entities. I trust if you’re reading this, you either know me personally and that the above statement is enough for you to take notice and get your shit fixed before some asshat screws you over. That being said, let us get started.
If you haven’t seen the news recently, Equifax was hacked. Hopefully this will not affect you… but just to be on the safe side, lets talk about credit freezing. This is something that the vast majority of my peers have completed yesterday and today 9/13/17! It will take you about 15-20 minutes and at the most cost $10USD out of pocket (if you know anyone that’s had their identity stolen ask them if it’s worth the ten spot).
First a few words from one of the world’s foremost experts in data security… Brian Krebs, who wrote an excellent Q&A about the subject here. I’ll highlight the immediate need to know, and add a caveat to one of his answers that I disagree with. To start 143 MILLION Americans are at risk right now.
Q: What is Equifax doing about this breach?
A: Equifax is offering one free year of their credit monitoring service. In addition, it has put up a Web site — www.equifaxsecurity2017.com — that tried to let people determine whether they were affected.
I don’t suggest going there and giving them ANYTHING! I have a very good friend that is a patent attorney and has said differently than Equifax’s statement… I mean, you can, but your computer geek friend is saying no, so… weigh your options and don’t say I didn’t tell you!
Q: I read that the legal language in the terms of service that consumers must accept before enrolling in the free credit monitoring service from Equifax requires one to waive their rights to sue the company in connection with this breach. Is that true?
A: Not according to Equifax. The company issued a statement over the weekend saying that nothing in that agreement applies to this cybersecurity incident.
I, for one, will not give them my info and hope for the best, they already screwed up… Let’s try something different!
FREEZE YOUR CREDIT ACCOUNTS! NOW! Do not pass go, do not collect $200… Please heed this warning.
Q: What’s the best way to do that?
A: File a security freeze — also known as a credit freeze — with the four major credit bureaus.
Q: What is a security freeze?
A: A security freeze essentially blocks any potential creditors from being able to view or “pull” your credit file, unless you affirmatively unfreeze or thaw your file beforehand. With a freeze in place on your credit file, ID thieves can apply for credit in your name all they want, but they will not succeed in getting new lines of credit in your name because few if any creditors will extend that credit without first being able to gauge how risky it is to loan to you (i.e., view your credit file). And because each credit inquiry caused by a creditor has the potential to lower your credit score, the freeze also helps protect your score, which is what most lenders use to decide whether to grant you credit when you truly do want it and apply for it.
Q: What’s involved in freezing my credit file?
A: Freezing your credit involves notifying each of the major credit bureaus that you wish to place a freeze on your credit file. This can usually be done online, but in a few cases you may need to contact one or more credit bureaus by phone or in writing. Once you complete the application process, each bureau will provide a unique personal identification number (PIN) that you can use to unfreeze or “thaw” your credit file in the event that you need to apply for new lines of credit sometime in the future. Depending on your state of residence and your circumstances, you may also have to pay a small fee to place a freeze at each bureau. There are four consumer credit bureaus, including Equifax, Experian, Innovis and Trans Union. It’s a good idea to keep your unfreeze PIN(s) in a folder in a safe place (perhaps along with your latest credit report), so that when and if you need to undo the freeze, the process is simple.
I would also suggest that anyone wondering about their score, check out *Credit Karma! It is COMPLETELY FREE, and gives you regular updates, can help with a plethora of things from taxes to mortgages… and everything in between, they make money when you click on one of their ads. It really is that simple. I’ve been personally using this to monitor my credit score for almost 4years now. I have paid exactly $0.00 to have regular updates and help on 2 separate occasions. That being said… please be safe online and freeze your accounts today. I did it earlier today and it cost me a total of $10USD and 15mins of my time. And remember if you need to get credit for a car, truck, house, etc… simply ‘unthaw’ that account (simply ask the lender whom they use, and if it’s Equifax… tell them to make better decisions if they want your business! Someone else will give you a better deal, just down the road)! Be cyber vigilant, have fun, be safe, love you all… DB
*Anyone wondering, I make NOTHING off of this post, links, or content within. Also I am not affiliated in any way, shape or form with anyone / anything in this post. (for the FCC asshats) 😉