The Calm After the Storm
When you hear that 143 million Americans were affected by the Equifax data breach, it’s natural to feel a bit on edge.
It’s scary to know that you may have been involved in a data breach. The size and scope of the Equifax data breach makes us wonder: what happened to our information, what should we do, and how can we protect our information in the future?
We want to make sure you’re taking full advantage of your Identity Protection Program powered by EZShield. Our award-winning products and services are here to help you secure, monitor and restore your information – especially after security events like these.
If your information was exposed in this breach, don’t panic. Below are some common misconceptions about data breaches and identity crimes, as well as ways your identity protection can help you navigate through them.
MYTH #1: “Securing my information won’t help.”
Fact: Preventative steps are your best defense against identity crimes.
Identity crime is inconvenient, stressful and seems to always happen at the worst moments. Information exposed in a breach event is more likely to be misused in the future.
Education and preventative measures are such an important, yet often overlooked, component of identity protection. The unfortunate truth is that criminals often wait to misuse breached information.
Why? Because identity thieves want to stay under-the-radar for as long as possible.
Secure Your Information
Take a proactive approach to protecting your personal and financial information. We recommend you take the following steps to prevent criminals from misusing your information in the future:
Step 1: If you haven’t already, create an online account by visiting your online Identity Protection dashboard. To take full advantage of all the preventative benefits included in your Identity Protection, you’ll need to create your online account.
Step 2: Store your information in your Online Identity Vault™, a safe place to keep personally identifiable information (PII) such as credit and debit cards, Social Security numbers, medical IDs, bank accounts, drivers’ licenses and more.
Step 3: Generate strong passwords for your online accounts, and store them in your Password Manager.
Step 4: Don’t forget about education! Take advantage of our monthly email notifications packed with valuable identity protection tips from EZShield’s industry experts, as well as updates on major data breaches and scams in the news.
MYTH #2: “Criminals only use my info to steal my money.”
Fact: ID thieves use your info to steal funds, apply for loans, commit criminal offenses and more.
While financial losses are devastating, identity thieves use your information to do much more than fill their pockets. Criminals can open new accounts, apply for loans or new lines of credit, rack up court fees, manipulate public records and even fill prescriptions with part of or your entire identity.
You should know who has access to your sensitive information, and how it’s being used. The purpose of monitoring is to help you find and resolve issues quickly before they turn into something more serious.
We recommend you take the following steps to answer the who, what, when, where and why questions surrounding your information:
Monitor Your Activity
Step 1: Log into your dashboard and review your “Monitored Information” located in your Online Identity Vault™.
Step 2: Due to the nature of this breach, we recommend that you have Credit Monitoring and Internet Monitoring services.
Step 3: Review any alerts that may indicate you were affected by this breach. Be wary of email and phone scams that may be meant to capture more of your information.
Step 4: Regularly review and update information stored in your Online Identity Vault™ and Password Manager. Simply put – if you don’t store it, we can’t monitor it.
MYTH #3: “Being involved in a data breach means my identity was stolen.”
Fact: Exposed or compromised info simply means it was accessed without your permission — not necessarily used to commit fraud or identity theft.
Data breaches can be worrisome because of how much “unknown” surrounds them. They can make you feel helpless because you won’t know who has accessed your information, or what will come of it in the future.
The good news? Information that was “exposed” or “compromised” in a data breach simply means that it was accessed without permission.
In short, any of your information affected by this breach has probably not been misused – yet. Thankfully, EZShield’s 24/7/365 Resolution Center is here so that you never face identity crime alone.
Restore Your Identity
Our team of certified Resolution Specialists are ready to provide dedicated, 1-on-1 assistance to you with any additional questions you may have about your identity or the Equifax breach. Contact the Resolution Center if you’re still concerned about your potential impact in this breach.
Put Your Identity Protection to Work
Now that you’re aware of the benefits included in your identity protection service, it’s time to put them to work! Focus on securing and monitoring your information by taking our recommended steps. If you have Identity Protection powered by EZShield, be sure that you log into your dashboard to manage your services.
Continue following Fighting Identity Crimes to receive the latest breach and scam updates, as well as timely tips from our industry experts on how to continue securing your identity.
Identity Security 2017 (FAQ): We answer your questions about the Equifax data breach, identity crimes and identity protection, as well as offer effective prevention tips that can help secure your personal information.
Equifax Breach Coverage: Get the latest updates on the Equifax data breach.
About Breaches: A valuable resource that offers a more in-depth look at data breaches in our world today.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of EZShield Inc. alone and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of any other person or entity, including specifically any person or entity affiliated with the distribution or display of this content.