As you may have heard, Equifax recently experienced a breach of 143 million US consumers data. If your data was stolen, you are NOW a victim of identity theft. Now, what do you do?

 The stolen identity data is commonly referred to as Personally Identifiable Information (PII) . An estimated 143 million US consumers had their PII stolen which included their name, address, Social Security Number, date of birth, and driver’s license information.

We recommend your next step should be to ensure you don’t also become a victim of identity fraud which could hurt your credit.

Keep reading to learn more. Also, we highly recommend you share this important email with your clients, friends and family.

Identity fraud is when the stolen PII is used to establish a fraudulent account. The perpetrators most often uses the victim’s name, SS#, and DOB to apply for credit cards. The fraudsters will rarely use 100% of the victim’s identity data on the application (phone number, email, and addresses are usually set up and managed by the fraud perps themselves so it doesn’t lead back to the victims). Therefore, with strong fraud prevention processes being used by lenders to prescreen applications, the perps can be identified before fraudulent accounts are ever established. However, many credit card lenders lack quality fraud screening procedures, so it is important that victims don’t rely solely on lenders to identify and prevent the setup of fraudulent accounts.

We feel strongly that there is only one viable identity fraud prevention and detection solution- credit monitoring.

We highly recommend using a trusted credit monitoring tool that does the following:

-Allows you to access data from all three major credit bureaus
-Refreshes your credit reports on a monthly basis
-Provides you with 24/7 alerts when there are changes in your credit – specifically if someone applies for credit in your name.
-Maintaining a credit monitoring service is a wise decision at the best of times, and is absolutely vital when it comes to protecting yourself against fraud.

Equifax is saying they are going to provide free monitoring to victims. Click here to see if your data was breached.

Based on what we’ve been able to learn so far, this monitoring service…

-Is not available for all impacted persons yet even though fraudulent activity is happening right now
-Comes with strings attached and possibly hidden fees
-Does not give you access to all three credit bureau reports.
-Why monitoring Equifax’s credit bureau data isn’t enough?

If a fraudster applies for credit at ABC Retail Store, and ABC Retail Store pulls your Trans Union credit report to determine your eligibility, you won’t see an inquiry at Equifax. There will only be an inquiry at Trans Union. So the application could get approved and a fraudulent account established without your knowledge. The fraudster would get the card in the mail (at their fraud address) and could start charging up the balance right away.

In this example, it would take 30-60 days before the new account reports to all three credit bureaus, so you most likely wouldn’t learn about the new fraudulent account until the fraudster maxes out the account.

Where can you find a good credit monitoring tool? 
At bSquared Credit, we are very familiar with credit monitoring tools and have found a 3rd party service provided by IdentityIQ.com is one of the best options available, for the price. For our customers, Identity IQ offers a discounted monthly rate of $19.99, which doesn’t start until after the 7-day trial ends. If you decide you want to establish a credit monitoring account for yourself, you are welcome to use our company’s discount link below:

https://www.identityiq.com/get-all-your-reports-now.aspx?offercode=431129MY 
Note: This link doesn’t give us access to your reports or data. Its sole purpose is to make sure you don’t pay Identity IQ’s monthly credit monitoring retail rate of $29.99.

Once you’ve received your credit reports and scores from Identity IQ, feel free to contact our office if you would like us to go over your reports with you,
especially if you see an inquiry you don’t recognize, or if you desire credit advice.
When we identity a consumer is a victim of identity fraud, we follow the Justice Department’s recommendations to: eliminate the account, prevent future fraud accounts and resolve the credit issues it caused. Justice Department recommendations link.