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The recent exposure of 763 Million records containing personally identifiable information (PII) made me reflect on a blog post I wrote a few year ago on the importance of freezing your credit. The information is even more important today that it was in 2017. My best advice is to take action for yourself, your spouse, and send a link to this post to your adult kids and all of your friends.
Freeze Your Credit Now
The credit freeze will make it extremely hard for anyone to open any new accounts with your private information that has been stolen multiple times in data breaches that are out of your control. Then if you don’t already have it, set up alerting on all of your credit and bank accounts so that you get immediate alerts when certain transactions occur, such as a charge over a certain dollar value. The paid LifeLock type services only let you know when something bad has already happened, rather than preventing it from happening. The credit freeze will prevent it (in most cases). A few months ago, someone tried to open a Dressbarn account in the name of a friend of mine who had previously taken these important steps. The breach was defeated because of the freeze; without it, the attacker would have succeeded.
Strong Passwords Everywhere
Always use UNIQUE and strong passwords everywhere, AND enable multi-factor authentication on any website or online account under your control that contains sensitive information.
Check to see if you private information has been exposed
Finally, use the service at https://haveibeenpwned.com/ to determine if your business and/or personal email addresses have been exposed in any public data breaches. The latest massive breach (763M records) occurred just a few weeks before this posting. If your email is found in any of the known data breaches, it will hopefully motivate you to act, and make you more vigilant to phishing and other social media attacks.
Please act now… before you become a victim!