credit score

credit score

It’s not comforting to hear and read about 12 major financial institutions including JP Morgan Chase, Fidelity and CitiGroup which have suffered a major hack to their consumer data.    So, if you are credit cards with any of these banks, the odds are that your credit card and bank account numbers are now the property of hackers who could be selling them.

This increases the odds of you becoming  a victim of identify theft.   That’s why we wanted to share What can you do then to avoid identify theft ?

1) Security Freeze:  The credit freeze locks the data at the consumer reporting agency until you give permission for the release of the data.  This way, if the hackers try to order new credit cards based on your information, you will be notified by the major credit agencies Transunion, Equifax, Experian.    But this only protects you in cases where new accounts are originated.   According Federal Trade Commissions about 15 percent of all cases of identity theft are cases of new account origination.  Theres is typically a $10 cost of freezing your credit file and similar cost to un-freeze it.

 2) Two-step authentication:  Two-step verification offers an addition protection since it requires someone using your ATM card to also enter your PIN code.   You could potentially use your ATM card for your purchases online.   But be careful with the local stores since we have been victimized by a local grocery store in Los Gatos with rigged ATM machines who were recording our pin and the card number.

3) Replace cards:    You can easily ask your bank to replace your existing cards that are in circulations every year.  You can also ask your bank to ship the new cards to you in 24 hours.  This way, your old credit cards numbers become obsolete them minute the issue you new cards to you.

 4) Leave home without it: Remember that famous American Express TV ad that featured Carl Maldon who said with his deep voice that “don’t leave home without it”.  Well, these days, it makes sense to use cash with some vendors if you are not comfortable using your credit cards.

 Let us know if you know other ways to protect your identity.