Equifax, one of the three largest credit reporting companies, announced last week that the personal information of 143 million Americans was accessed by hackers who exploited a vulnerability in the company’s website. The information gained by the hackers included names and social security numbers. Reports indicate 209,000 consumer credit card numbers were stolen. What’s worse? Many of those affected are not aware that their credit card company had shared personal data with Equifax for credit reporting purposes prior to the breach.
Online security breaches are becoming commonplace. In 2017, there have been major security breaches affecting Arby’s, Washington State University, Verifone, Chipotle, Kmart, and Verizon.
Data breach announcements are so frequent, they are starting to sound like white noise. Aside from the obvious security concerns, the string of tasks we’re forced to carry out when our personal information is compromised has become a tedious routine. Hours of our lives are spent canceling credit cards, then updating that information at all of our online accounts.
What can you do?
1. Find out if your information was impacted:
Equifax has created a website regarding the breach. Go to equifaxsecurity2017.com to read the consumer notice and find out if your information was compromised. Complementary identity theft protection is available to anyone impacted by the breach.
2. Protect your identity:
Nearly half of the United States population has been affected by this historic data breach. The best first step to protect yourself is to sign up for an identity monitoring service. There are many to choose from if you don’t feel comfortable with the complementary service offered by Equifax. When you sign up for identity monitoring, you will be notified when any entity runs a new credit report on your behalf. Thus notifying you if someone is trying to open an unauthorized account with your stolen identity.
You can also freeze your credit. Freezing your credit will block any entity from accessing your credit information if you do not already have an account with them. You can learn more about freezing your credit here.
3. Let Switch track and update your online accounts:
- Switch’s auto-save feature keeps track of all of your online accounts and the credit cards they have on file.
- Switch updates your card-on-file information in seconds.
- Use Switch’s password report to be sure your information is secure.
Switch helps you easily update payment methods at your favorite sites following a replacement event. It is the fastest and easiest way to sign up, sign in, and checkout.
We are currently adding new users to our extended beta program. If you are one of the many Americans impacted by the growing number of data breaches, sign up today!
Click here to learn about Switch’s better-than-bank security measures.