As we’ve briefly mentioned the Equifax data breach in a previous blog post, now about a month has passed and the dust has settled, we wanted to go into more detail about how the breach could affect you while purchasing a home. Considering, about 1/3 of the entire country’s population had their information leaked, it’s advised to stay alert and safeguard yourself if you think your information was impacted.
Equifax holds an exorbitant amount of personal data that when exposed, could cause serious ramifications for those impacted. The breach essentially gives hackers the ability to steal your identity. These hackers could then create new accounts in your name and put you in debt, destroying your credit score in the process. In extreme cases, they may even be able to purchase a home in your name.
If you are already a homeowner, it’s important you take extra steps to make sure your information is secure. Unfortunately, if you own a home that means you likely have more information to expose.
Luckily, there are a number of steps you can take to prevent any fraud on your account.
1. Check your credit report- It’s pretty easy to view your credit score for free now-a-days so keep a close eye on it and monitor any random drops or changes.
2. Review your monthly statements- Try not to use automatic payments but if you do make sure you still review your statements and be cautious of any strange transactions.
3. Review your bank statements- Keep tabs on your bank statements weekly and set up alerts on your mobile phone.
4. Credit freeze- This may not be a good idea if you are looking to make a major purchase like a home but if not, a credit freeze makes it much harder for hackers to open new accounts in your name.
5. Taxes! Make sure you file your taxes for 2017 as soon as possible- tax identity theft is a commonality now and they can use your social security number to steal your refund.
As you can see, the data breach at Equifax affected many and its effects will be lasting. We still don’t know what harm may come from it in the future. However, there are fortunately a few ways you can protect yourself and hopefully prevent any potential fraud.