Certified Public Accountants
   Equifax Breach
data breach made from metallic letterpress blocks on the pc board background
On Thursday, credit reporting firm Equifax reported that hackers had gained access to personal identifying information from mid-May through July.  Potentially impacting 143 million U.S. consumers, this is now the largest breach ever recorded involving this type of sensitive data (social security numbers, birth dates, addresses, credit card, phone and driver's licenses numbers). With this stolen treasure, thieves can acquire bank accounts, credit cards, tax refunds, prescription drugs, and even drivers' licenses in your name. And they can use this information for many years to come, so don't feel safe with that free year of credit monitoring that Equifax is offering!

If you haven't already, it's time to TAKE ACTION to protect yourself! (Here is a recent NY Times article on What to Do Now.) We recommend placing a credit freeze on each of your accounts with the 3 major credit reporting bureaus.  You can do this online or by phone, and it's free in Colorado. With this freeze, no new credit will be granted in your name because your credit report cannot be retrieved. You will receive a PIN (or generate one yourself) so that you can lift the freeze when you need to apply for new credit (there is a small fee to lift). The freeze will not affect your credit score or your ability to access your credit reports.

More Steps to Protect Your Identity:
  • Monitor your existing bank accounts and credit cards closely!
  • Beware of other scammers trying to exploit this breach to get you to click on links or share personal information.  
  • Don't use public computers or Wi-Fi when entering sensitive information online.
  • Request your free annual credit reports by visiting annualcreditreport.com.  You can get a report from each agency, so you can check it every 4 months for free.
  • Set up a  free fraud alert at one agency and they will have to notify the other two. Unless you have already been a victim and have an ID Theft Report, you will have to renew the fraud alert every 90 days.
  • Use super strong passwords, a password manager, and two-factor authentication for your email and other accounts. 
  • File your tax return as early as possible.

 

Want to get really serious?  Here is even more you can do to protect your digital life.

Bad Credit?   You may be even more vulnerable to identity theft.

Need a morsel of hope?  Our everyday security is still pretty good.


Check out BCPAG's Data Security Policies and ID Theft Guide on our website

Nancy Carter
Boulder CPA Group
   
Boulder CPA Group
303-449-3060
nancy@bouldercpas.com
http://www.bouldercpas.com