You’ve probably heard by now that one of the major credit reporting agencies, Equifax, was hacked. And you’re probably worried about what you can do to protect your credit. After all, social security numbers, birthdays and addresses belonging to roughly half of all Americans were stolen in one of the largest hacks of all time.
What makes this hack so concerning is that Equifax knew about it on July 29, roughly six weeks after it occurred in May. In response, the firm hired an outside cyber security consultant to assess the damage and then waited another six weeks to alert consumers. During that time, a hacker may have opened lines of credit in your name, with the intention of never paying it back. Yikes.
We know this sounds super stressful and scary, but there are some things you can do to take control of your credit in response to this hack.
Here’s what you can do:
Sign up for Equifax’s data breach checker. It takes some time to find out whether your data was hacked, but putting your information on this list is a good start.
Freeze your credit score on the three major credit rating agencies. This includes Equifax, Transunion and Experian. The freeze allows only a person with a pin to approve any credit inquiries. The best part? Right now, each site is offering a freeze for free.
Check back through your bank statements and make sure you don’t have any weird charges. If you see a strange charge, dispute it with your bank and let them know you think you could have been impacted by the hack.