In the weeks that followed the Equifax data breach, our office received about a dozen calls from clients about what should be done to protect themselves from the data breach. It’s understandable given how much it has been in the news. But the shocking issue to me is that I received 5 separate phone calls/emails from clients who experienced some sort of identity theft related to their email system.
While so much of the media is concerned about the big data breach – Equifax – there are many other vulnerabilities that could cause hours and hours of frustration. Here are a few pointers to consider:
- There is no simple solution to protect yourself. Freezing your credit scores can help in some areas. Using LifeLock can help. But there is no single solution to fully protect you.
- It’s more than just accessing credit. Email hijacking is a huge issue, where hackers pretend to be you. Make sure your email password is secure. Opt for two factor identification, if available. Be suspicious of every email, even ones coming from people you know. When in doubt, call to confirm that the email is valid.
- Watch the IRS. Don’t forget that hackers can file fraudulent tax returns on your behalf and collect a bogus refund. You will only discover this problem when you file your own tax return. If you’ve had a cyber-security event, tell the IRS with Form 14039.
- Protecting yourself needs to be thought of as an ongoing task. How can you better protect yourself? How can you make your information even more secure? You need to stay one step ahead of the hackers and the bad guys.
- Most of what I read over simplifies the issues that must be addressed to protect your Identity. This is a great resource to stay on top of Identity theft issues and how to protect yourself…. And what to do if you become a victim. http://www.idtheftcenter.org
- For more on how privacy and cyber-security, see privacyblog.com by Dick Eastman.