Hello clients and friends,
On September 7th, we awoke to news that credit reporting agency, Equifax, had been hacked and some 143 MILLION credit records were stolen. Let’s put that number in perspective. The U.S. has a population as of 2016 of 323.1 million.
If we subtract those who do not have credit records, estimated as 26 million, the Equifax data breach exposed the credit records of right at HALF the U.S. population. That is ridiculous!
PLUS, the breach happened in May and we are just hearing about it! I could go on and on, but as successful investors, we need to take action to mitigate possible problems that could affect us going forward.
It is expected much of the data, which includes your name, Social Security number, birth date, addresses and driver’s license number, will be used to generate fake tax returns to steal your refunds and cause massive headaches.
You can check Equifax’s website to see if your information was part of the breach here, but be warned that you may get different answers over multiple tries. Equifax wants you to enroll in their TrustedID Premier to monitor your credit, but consumer advocates say this is a waste.
Others have suggested you use Lifelock which offers to protect you from the Equifax breach — by selling you services in part provided by Equifax (see story here). Besides this service can get quite expensive over time.
Here Is What Well-Respected Consumer Advocate Clark Howard Recommends.
1. Go to Credit Karma.com to sign up for free credit monitoring. Follow Clark Howard’s guide to sign up. It only takes a few minutes and you will be surprised at the amount of information you can access on the site.
This is a good time to check the accuracy of that information. Be sure you sign up for their alerts so Credit Karma will let you know if someone tries to open an account in your name.
Some have expressed concern that Credit Karma only monitors Equifax and TransUnion, but Clark says that is enough.
2. Next, you want to freeze your credit. Whereas the first step was free, this one will cost you a little, $3 to $10 and a similar amount when you want to unfreeze it.
The Equifax freeze is free for the now, but it will cost you for the other two. The Equifax servers are overloaded, so freeze the other two services first and then try Equifax every couple of days until you can complete a freeze there as well.
Congress is considering making all credit freezes/unfreezes free in the light of what has happened. Don’t wait though. It could take months for a Bill to pass and be signed into law.
A lot can happen in that time. Besides, there is a good chance any fees charged after the Equifax breach will be refunded.
And don’t forget to freeze children’s credit as well. You may not think they have any, but remember social security numbers are now issued at the hospital at birth.
The good news is that it will be years until they will need to unfreeze their credit.
Dennis Dahlberg Broker/RI/CEO/MLO
Level 4 Funding LLC Private Hard Money Lender
Arizona Tel: (623) 582-4444
Texas Tel: (512) 516-1177
Dennis@level4funding.com NMLS 1057378 | AZMB 0923961 | MLO 1057378
22601 N 19th Ave Suite 112 | Phoenix | AZ | 85027
111 Congress Ave |Austin | Texas | 78701
About the Author: Dennis has been working in the real estate industry in some capacity for the last 40 years. He purchased his first property when he was just 18 years old. He quickly learned about the amazing investment opportunities provided by trust deed investing and hard money loans. His desire to help others make money in real estate investing led him to specialize in alternative funding for real estate investors who may have trouble getting a traditional bank loan. Dennis is passionate about alternative funding sources and sharing his knowledge with others to help make their dreams come true. Dennis has been married to his wonderful wife for 42 years. They have 2 beautiful daughters 5 amazing grandchildren. Dennis has been an Arizona resident for the past 40 years.