Equifax Was Hacked – How Can You Protect Yourself and Your Family?

As many of you may know, Equifax, one of the three major U.S. credit reporting bureaus, recently announced that it was hacked and sensitive credit information for ~143 million people was stolen.

Because of the increasing frequency of hacking events like this, we have recommended for years that our clients place a permanent security freeze on their credit with each of the three major credit reporting bureaus: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. The benefit of such a freeze is that you or anyone else who tries to access your credit information will be required to provide a unique pin code that is given to you when you place a permanent freeze. The charges to place a freeze and for each time you wish to reopen your credit are modest (ranging from $5 to $15), and they vary by state.

While a permanent security freeze cannot ensure that your sensitive credit information won’t be stolen, we consider it a best practice. In light of the recent hack of Equifax, we encourage you to consider placing a permanent security freeze with each reporting bureau if you have not already done so.

The State of California Department of Justice provides information on how you can place a permanent security freeze on your account with each credit reporting bureau here.

Laws and procedures regarding placing a permanent credit freeze vary by state, and most states have enacted new laws that permit such freezes. You can find a summary of each state’s policy and instructions regarding credit freezes here.