In light of the highly publicized Equifax data breach, a number of our clients have asked what they should be doing to protect themselves from potential identity theft. Our Director of Taxation, Kelly Campbell, has prepared the following suggestions for your consideration:
- Sign up for a credit monitoring service. Credit Karma is a free service that you can sign up for on-line with the following link: https://www.creditkarma.com/
- Don’t sign up for the credit protection that Equifax is offering as the coverage is limited to one year and may limit your ability to recover future losses from them.
- Place a credit freeze on all three of the credit bureau files. You can do this with the following links:
- Place a fraud alert on your credit file. This only lasts for 90 days so you will need to renew it every 90 days. You only need to place the alert with one of the credit bureaus and they will notify the other two. You can access the TransUnion fraud alert system with this link: https://www.transunion.com/fraud-victim-resource/place-fraud-alert
- Sign up for “Identity Theft Insurance.” There are several companies that offer this coverage. Perhaps the most valuable feature is recovery assistance if your personal information is compromised. One of the better options on the market is IDShield, as they have dedicated licensed private investigators on staff that assist with credit restoration in the event of identiy theft. You can sign up with the following link (make sure to add all accounts and information you want monitored): https://www.idshield.com
- Opt out of pre-approved credit offers to eliminate the possibility of identity thieves intercepting these offers of new credit. To opt out for five years you can call 1-888-567-8688 or visit the following website: www.optoutprescreen.com. To opt out permanently, you will have to submit a signed election form via the mail. You can start the process with the above link.
If you have any questions, please call our office.