How To Protect Yourself From Data Breaches

Recently there was a major hack at Equifax, one of the three major credit reporting companies in the U.S. This hack has exposed the information of 143 million Americans, nearly half the population. We’ll go over how you can protect yourself by using iPhone caller ID, avoiding phishing email scams, and freezing your credit.

Is Your Information At Risk?

You can find out whether or not your information may have been exposed by going to Equifax’s Cybersecurity Incident & Important Consumer Information site. Equifax is also offering a free credit monitoring service. However, it’s important to note that by joining this you waive your right to sue the company in the future.

What To Watch Out For

Beware of phishing scams and keep an eye on your credit report. Here are the top things to watch out for:

  • Impostor phone scams: Don’t trust callers who are requesting that you confirm your Social Security Number or asking for other sensitive pieces of information. Scammers will often pretend to be calling from credit card companies or other organizations in order to trick you into giving them information.
  • Phishing email scams: Almost more common than phone scams are email scams that are phishing (or requesting) personal information. Look for spelling mistakes in the emails, this is a sign that the email isn’t legitimate.
  • Changes in credit score: If you notice changes in your credit score, report it immediately to the the three credit reporting agencies and put a freeze on your credit. You can learn more about this here at the FTC.

Using iPhone Caller ID And Other Tools To Protect Yourself

If you’re an iPhone user, download an iPhone caller ID app to allow you to identify unknown calls. This will help you identify whether an incoming call is trustworthy. If you have an Android phone you should check out Truecaller.

Secondly, you should also check emails to verify the address. Don’t click on links that seem suspicious, and if you have doubts go directly to the company’s website and contact them directly.

What’s most important though, in cases like these, is to keep an eye on your credit report. Any fluctuations are a red flag.