Who remembers the Equifax hack from 2017? You know, the one where 145 MILLION Americans had their private information stolen by hackers. Why? EQUIFAX HAD A MUSIC COMPOSITION MAJOR IN CHARGE OF SECURITY! I can't even….
If the hack slid under your radar last year, I'll let John Oliver catch you up. Each progressive revelation should make you that much more enraged over the whole situation.
One of the only ways to prevent getting your credit history tied up in the next hack is to put a credit Freeze and Thaw on your accounts. Previously, in order to do this, many states allowed the Big Three credit agencies to charge a fee for this and boy did they! $10 here, $15 there and before you knew it you could be flushing good money down the drain just to keep your credit safe.
However, as of September 21, 2018, credit freezes and thaws are 100% free nationwide. What's a credit freeze? It's a (now free) security measure that restricts access to your credit report, which means if hackers did get your personal information, they wouldn't be able to open an account under your name.
Apply a Free Credit Freeze
- Free Equifax credit freeze – go here
- Free Experian credit freeze – go here
- Free TransUnion credit freeze – go here
I personally suggest applying a free credit freeze with all three agencies. You can lift (AKA thaw) the freeze at any point, like when opening a new credit card. Once you have your new account, you can re-freeze your credit – all for free now!
For a full breakdown on credit freezes, check out the excellent Krebs on Security.