4 Ways to Protect Your Credit History

As seen on Yahoo and other channels, the recent Equifax breach put over 140 million Americans’ personal info at risk. With a hit so big, it’s likely that many customers’ information has been compromised.

While freezing one’s credit may be a natural reaction, it may not always be the best idea. Below are several other steps victims can take to protect their credit and their sensitive information.

Check the Credit Report

All consumers are entitled to one free credit report per year from each of the three major credit bureaus (TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian). Use these reports to check for unauthorized accounts opened in a person’s name. This step may seem simple, but it’s an effective way to determine whether fraud has occurred.

Report the Breach

If a person spots any fraudulent credit accounts or sees any suspicious transactions, they should file a police report, call the card issuer, and report the intrusion to each of the three credit bureaus.

Consider Signing Up for ID Theft Protection Services

Those who find themselves ill-equipped to deal with identity theft can ask their card issuers about services that can help them recover. Some card issuers help customers by calling the credit bureaus to request reviews and put fraud alerts on their credit files.

These alerts are automatically passed to Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. The issuer may help the victim submit a police report, and they may monitor the customer’s credit report for suspicious activity until the fraud case is closed.

Sign Up for Social Security Number Scouring Services

SSN monitoring services claim to prevent fraud before it happens with someone’s card. For instance, Discover’s SSN monitoring service, which has recently launched, tracks dubious websites that are known to illegally trade or sell cardholders’ personal data.

If a person’s Social Security number is found on one of these risky sites, the card company alerts them. Furthermore, the issuer will tell the customer whether any new mortgages, auto loans, credit cards, or other accounts show up on their credit report.

While the effects of the Experian data breach may be far-reaching, they don’t have to be permanent. By following these tips, cardholders can recover from data breaches, protect their identities, and restore their good credit.