If Experian were to get hacked, identity thefts could use your identity information to open new credit cards or take out a new loan and then don’t make repayment. They could also know the number of your existing credit cards and use them to make fraud charges. The best way to protect your credit history is to sign up for the credit monitoring service the credit bureau offers. On the Equifax website, you can enter your social security number and see if the data breach has affected you.
The incident of Equifax being recently hacked should be a warning to those who are lazy in checking their bank statement. Starting from now, you should develop a habit to regularly checking your bank statement, and credit card statement. If you did not find any fraud activity on your credit report, it doesn’t mean that you are safe. This is because crooks are patient and they will wait for the right time if they want to steal your identity information to commit frauds.
You can perform a credit freeze to deter identity thefts from misusing your identity to open new account. Credit freeze can lock your credit report on file and make it harder for identity theft to open new account. Credit freeze can prevent your credit report from being easily accessed. If the credit report cannot be accessed, the creditor will not be able to extend the loan.
You can also consider setting up a fraud alert. There are two types of fraud alert including initial and extended fraud alert. Initial fraud alert will protect your credit from being accessed by identity thefts for 90 days while extended fraud alert can give your credit a protection of up to 7 years. With a fraud alert, creditors will take the initiative to carry out extra steps to confirm your identity before approving the opening of the new lines of credit. Credit freeze can be done by visiting the credit bureau site or calling the hotline number.
Besides, it is especially important for those planning to buy a new car or house to check their credit report after the occurrence of the data breach. If someone use your identity to apply a new credit card, your credit score could be damaged and this will result in you getting a higher interest rate for the loan. You can check your credit report by requesting a free copy from the credit bureau.
Some of the things that you should look out for in the credit report are wrong personal information, accounts that you did not open, and credit inquiries from unfamiliar companies. If any fraudulent activity is found on the credit report, make sure you report it to the credit bureau so that they can carry out the investigation and have them deleted.