The Equifax data breach of 2017 caused a lot of panic in Minnesota and throughout the U.S., and for good reason. About 145.5 million Americans had their sensitive personal data stolen. Roughly 2 million of these individuals reside in Minnesota. Unfortunately, this compromised information includes names, birthdates, Social Security numbers, and driver’s license numbers. These means that all of those affected by the Equifax breach are now much more vulnerable to identity theft.
Now, other news items – even other data breaches – have shifted consumer focus in Minnesota. Fewer people are rushing to freeze their credit reports or sign up for credit report monitoring services. However, Minnesota residents shouldn’t forget that their very important personal data remains out there and exposed. Regardless of the fact that time has passed since the breach, the identity theft threat still looms large. This is because, for most consumers in Minnesota, their names, birthdates, and Social Security numbers do not change. Therefore, scammers with access to this data may use it to commit identity theft now – or years from now.
How Minnesota Consumers Can Continue to Protect Themselves Against the Identity Theft Threat Caused by the Equifax Data Breach of 2017
Rob Reck, chief information security officer of Ping Identity has good advice for Minnesota consumers affected by the Equifax data breach. He says:
“It can be a huge task to unwind the harm done in these types of attacks and data breaches. It’s important to keep an eye on each of your critical accounts and regularly monitor your credit report for any suspicious activities.”
Here are a few other identity theft prevention tips.
Use multi-factor authentication with online accounts.
Multi-factor authentication protects accounts even if hackers steal your passwords. With this type of protection, a service provider must confirm a log-in attempt with the consumer in real time. Typically, you receive a notification on your cell phone. Minnesota consumers who want to install multi-factor authentication should contact service providers. Or, look for the option in the security section on your provider’s website.
Use strong passwords, and change them frequently.
Often, hackers use information found on social media pages to guess passwords for bank and credit card accounts. For this reason, always avoid “obvious” passwords. For example, your passwords should not include your pets’ names, children’s names, favorite sports teams. Instead, use random numbers or words that have no connection with your personal life.
Eliminate “clutter” from your inbox.
Minnesota consumers should think about the emails lingering in their inbox. If an identity thief hacked your email account right now, what would they find? If you have messages from banks or credit card companies, this could mean trouble. Of course, no one likes to believe that their email accounts are vulnerable to hackers. Yet, all consumers should assume that they are – at any given time. So, delete sensitive emails the second you no longer need them.
Why Minnesota Consumers Should Regularly Monitor their Financial Statements and Credit Reports in the Wake of the Equifax Data Breach
Going back to Rob Reck’s sound advice, all Minnesota consumers – and especially those affected by the Equifax data breach should monitor their credit reports. In addition, they should check their bank and credit card statements weekly, or even daily if possible.
The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA) entitles all consumers to free copies of their credit reports from each of the three major credit bureaus once every 12 months. Therefore, you should check your credit reports at least once a year. Just visit www.annualcreditreport.com to get credit reports from TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian all from one website.
If, while reviewing your credit reports, you see accounts that you didn’t open or transactions you didn’t make, file a police report immediately. Then, contact Credit Repair Lawyers of America in Minnesota. Cleaning up your credit reports after identity theft is necessary if you want to protect your credit score. However, because creditors and the credit bureaus are sometimes uncooperative, the process is often difficult for consumers who attempt it on their own.
Yet, when identity theft victims in Minnesota call our firm, our credit pros do all of the work for them. We’ll connect you with an experienced credit attorney who will get all fraudulent items removed from your credit reports, no matter what it takes – for free.
The Free and Legal way to Get Better Credit After Identity Theft in Minnesota
Don’t let fraudulent accounts or transactions on your credit reports bring your credit score down. At Credit Repair Lawyers of America, we’ve been cleaning up credit reports for consumers since 2008 for free. How do we do it? The law allows us to collect our fees and costs from the defendants in any successful action. This is why our clients pay nothing for the work we do.
Let’s start the conversation about what we can do for your credit. Set up your free consultation today by calling Attorney Gary Nitzkin at (612) 235-4458 or sending him a message through our contact page.
For more information about Free Credit Repair After Identity Theft, please visit https://creditrepairlawyersam.com/minnesota/id-theft/.