In September, Equifax, one of the three major credit bureaus in the United States, announced that the company had been the target of a massive data breach. As a result of the breach, an estimated 143 million Americans have had their information exposed. In light of this massive security issue, here are a few ways you can minimize the risk of having your identity compromised.
Regularly monitor your credit
You can get one free annual credit report from each of the three main credit bureaus(Experian, Equifax, and Transunion). It will likely be wise to space out when you receive the reports from each of the three agencies in order to help you catch any fraudulent activity throughout the year.
Regularly check accounts
Be sure to frequently check your bank statements and other personal information. If possible, enable automatic notifications to be alerted whenever suspicious activity occurs in your accounts.
Freeze your credit
Freezing your credit makes it difficult for thieves to open accounts and take out loans in your name. According to the Federal Trade Commission, a freeze on your credit will make it significantly more challenging for thieves to utilize your personal information, because many creditors require credit reports to issue loans and approve new accounts. You are still able to receive your free annual credit report when you freeze your credit, and when the time comes for any creditor to review your history, you can simply remove the freeze.
Use complex passwords
Utilize complex passwords to minimize the possibility of your accounts getting hacked. Additionally, put encryption methods on your mobile device to ensure security in the event of loss or theft.
Utilize anti-virus software
By utilizing anti-virus software, you can better protect yourself from invasive software that can steal your information.