The data breach at Equifax, in which the personal information of more than 140 million Americans was compromised, is one of the biggest stories of 2017, one that has received multiday coverage by a wide variety of news outlets.
The breach has placed this information as risk of being used by others:
- Dates of birth
- Social Security numbers
- Drivers license numbers.
The coverage of the breach has included any number of pieces that offer people guidance on how to respond to it. Like this one from CNN Money, "5 things to do right now if you're worried about the Equifax hack."
The five things are:
- Check your free credit reports
- Put a fraud alert on your credit
- Keep an eye on bank accounts and credit card statements
- Sign up for a credit monitoring or identity theft protection service
- If you're really worried, put a freeze on your credit.
What word do you see in all of those suggestions?
The entire piece, like everything else that I've read so far giving guidance to consumers, is focused on credit. And that focus ignores one giant simple reality: more than 80% of identity theft is NOT credit-related.
Most identity theft falls into other categories, such as:
- medical idenity theft
- drivers license idenity theft
- Social Security fraud
- tax return fraud
By focusing nearly entirely on credit, the media are getting the story wrong, and providing advice that will likely be useless more than 80% of the time.
You can do all of the five things listed above and still have someone use your information to access Social Security benefits. You can do all of them and still have someone get a job in your name, as a 1099 worker, and find yourself liable for taxes on that person's income. You can do all of the five things and still have someone use your information to access medical services, thus mingling their medical information with yours. Which could endanger you the next time you go a hospital.
The 143 million people whose personal information has been leaked need more than credit protection. They need true identity protection.
I have it, and I'm glad. On a daily basis, I have professionals watching over my social security number and my drivers license number. I have professionals searching the Dark Web for misuse of my information, or for my information being offered for sale. Most importantly, when my identity does get stolen (let's just go ahead and take that as a given, ok?), I have licensed private investigators ready to do what it takes for as long as it takes to restore it.
I have all of that through a program called IDShield. And because I have IDShield, I have peace of mind - even when Equifax screws up with 143 million Americans' information.
If you would also like to have identity protection (not just credit protection) that provides peace of mind, click on the "IDSHIELD" link here.