If you were affected by the Equifax breach, I’ve found these resources to be helpful in sharing with friends and family.
In the meantime, here’s hoping that this breach is the nudge you need to finally sign up for permanent freezes on your credit files. I’ve used them for years, and here’s how they work. You sign up (and pay some fees, because you knew it wasn’t going to be free to protect data that you didn’t ask these companies to store, right?) at Equifax’s, Experian’s and TransUnion’s websites.
This breach actually happened three months ago, so there’s a chance that your information is already being used. Check your credit report and make sure there’s nothing out of the ordinary happening.
If you do nothing else, place an initial 90 day fraud alert on your file. This is free and will require lenders to contact you if someone (including yourself) tries to apply for credit.
I’m here to tell you that if you’re an American, your basic personal data is already for sale. What follows is a primer on what you can do to avoid becoming a victim of identity theft as a result of all this data (s)pillage.