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Equifax Data Breach is More Intense Than We Thought

Five tips of what you should do right now to help protect your financial identity.

Equifax recently provided information to the Senate Banking Committee, that explains what cybercriminals got their hands on last year.

On Sept. 7, 2017 , the credit reporting agency announced the company experienced a data breach. Nearly 143 million consumers personal information was accessed.

At the time, Equifax reported that hackers might have gained access to names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and a few driver’s license numbers.

What Cybercriminals Might

Have in Their Possession Now

Tax identification numbers

Phone numbers

E-mail addresses

Credit Card expiration dates; and

Issuing states for driver’s licenses

What Should You Do Now?

There are several tasks you can do right now to help protect your financial identity. For one, you can place a hold on, or freeze, your credit. To make the process easier for its customers, Equifax recently launched Lock & Alert , a service that allows people to lock and unlock their Equifax credit report.

You can also keep tabs on your financial identity with the help of a credit monitoring service . According to the Federal Trade Commission , you are entitled to a free credit report once a year from each credit reporting agency – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.

It’s also essential that you regularly check your bank and credit card statements for suspicious fraudulent activity. If you suspect your financial identity is in the wrong hands, then you should cancel your debit and credit cards immediately.

For extra protection, consider two-factor authentication . Two-step or two-factor authentication protects your banking accounts and e-mails by requiring you to provide a username, password and an additional piece of information that only you would know.

You should also change your passwords for your financial accounts, as well as your e-mail addresses if you believe your information is out on the dark web. Depending on the type of credit monitoring service you have, you will receive an alert letting you know that your personal information might be in the hands of cybercriminals.

And finally, beware of phishing scams which can be in the form of e-mails, text messages, or websites that might look similar to sites you visit often.

If you have questions on how to protect your financial identity, please send an email to .