Planning in connection with the recent Equifax security breach

In connection with the recent news about the Equifax security breach, we wanted to remind you about the importance of placing a security freeze on your credit with the 3 major credit agencies.  We've mentioned this before and wanted to remind you again about doing this.  See below for instructions on how to place a security freeze with the 3 major credit agencies (which is also available on our website at www.sechrestcpa.com/insights). 

How to Place a Security Freeze

In October 2015, we had a client event and our guest speaker was Bill French, a VP at Fidelity’s Customer Protection and Financial Intelligence department. He specializes in fraud and identity theft planning and he’s an expert in this field. Someone asked him which ID Theft Services he recommended and he mentioned the following:

1. AllClear ID (www.allclearid.com)

2. Identity Guard (www.identityguard.com)

3. LifeLock (www.lifelock.com)

We’d also suggest checking your credit reports. You can each do this for free once every 12 months at https://www.annualcreditreport.com to see if you notice any suspicious activity on the reports.

If your identity was compromised with the Internal Revenue Service whereby a bad actor files a tax return in your SSN before you do, you/we may get a notification about this when we file your tax returns. If/when this happens, there's a process for you to get a special PIN number to be able to file your returns.  We've gone through this with a number of clients before, so if/when this happens, we're prepared to address this with you at that point in time.

Equifax has set up a website for people who may be affected to enter the last 6 digits of their SSN, then they can tell you if your information was compromised, and then they'll offer you free credit monitoring for a year.  People are understandably upset at Equifax for this breach and aren't trusting of them to provide this service.  There have also been questions publicized about if you sign up for this service, whether you'd also be signing away any rights to participate in lawsuits against Equifax in connection with this breach.  If you'd rather not take up Equifax on their offer, the above steps should help for your identity theft planning. 

If you have any additional questions about your identity theft planning or anything else, please let us know.  Thank you.