Curse Equifax and the rest of the credit reporting agencies. Credit issues and identity theft are not to be messed with. The financial risks could be significant if your private information is leaked. Credit information can be used to open up loans in your name and make unauthorized purchases.
We unfortunately have to deal with these credit breaches and have no solid solutions. The big 3 credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, Transunion) may all offer their own monitoring service, but personally I do not trust them to properly manage this growing problem. They all seem vulnerable to hacks and attacks. That is why I froze my credit.
You may want to freeze your credit too.
Freezing credit is a simple option to wrap your head around if you do not need a loan or another credit card in the short term. The freeze shuts down the ability for anyone, including yourself, to obtain additional credit to your current credit. If you already have a credit card and use it regularly, you won’t notice a difference. You still have access to the credit on that card. However, you would not be approved for a new card. Additionally, you would not be able to get a proper credit check if you wanted a loan or mortgage. This can eliminate the ability of the hackers to use your credit and impact your finances. When you need to apply for a loan or more credit, you can simply “unfreeze” it anytime. It’s a pretty simple solution that gives you the control to manage your own credit.
I would recommend looking into this option, especially if you are deemed “at risk” by the reporting agencies. The big 3 agencies typically charge to freeze and unfreeze, and the cost depends on the state that you live in. For me, it cost a total of $15 bucks to freeze them in total. This is one time fee is probably less than a monitoring service for 1 month. I probably won’t need more credit until going for a mortgage in a few years, so I’ll be sleeping well at night knowing my credit is frozen. It can always be thawed out.
See the links to the big 3 credit agencies below for more information: