News of the Equifax data breach justifiably upset millions of Americans – essentially every individual with a credit record of any kind.

The Identity Theft Resource Center (, a nonprofit that works to educate the public about identity theft, data breaches, and cyber security, says, “A social security number is the most valuable piece of information to identity thieves and can result in many different forms of identity theft.” They not that the crooks don’t care whether your credit is good or bad, and though you aren’t automatically a victim of ID theft due to the Equifax breach, you should take this threat seriously. It is worth signing up for their weekly newsletter to stay on top of the most recent malicious attacks.

You should update your security questions and answers, regularly monitor your accounts, and promptly report any concerns and check with your wireless service provider for steps it may recommend for protecting mobile phone accounts.

To protect yourself right now, Equifax has put up a website intended to tell you whether your data was compromised.

When I checked on the status of my family’s data, I got the message: “Based on the information provided, we believe that your personal information may have been impacted by this incident.” Equifax recommends that anyone affected enroll with its partner firm, Trusted ID, which monitors credit files and informs you if your data have been used to open a new account

A better layer of protection, though far from perfect, is to place a security freeze on your credit at each credit rating agency. To do so, you have to visit each firm’s specialized website and fill out a form. At the end of the process, you will either receive a personal identification number, or be able to generate one yourself. When you know you will be applying for a new line of credit, credit card, or auto loan, find out which credit rating age4ncy the vendor uses. A day or two in advance, unlock your credit file so your application can be processed.

A major complaint about its freeze process was that the site generated PIN was made up of month, date, and year and time stamp of the freeze which could be easily hacked. The PIN is now a random number.

Experian’s site was experiencing such high traffic that it was very slow to respond. TransUnion has an identity protection product call True Identity that’s free. You select your own user ID and password. Requiring just a request and identity verification, smaller player Innovis, a unit of CBCInnovis, cased in Columbus, Ohio, is by far the easiest of credit freezes to put in place. Confirmation of the request comes via snail mail.

Another step you can take is to turn on two-factor authentication for all financial websites and apps. This might mean your fingerprint is part of the login process on your smart phone, for instance, or that you must type in a code that changes periodically, along with your password. That will protect existing accounts. When you open a new account, enable two-factor authentication at the start.

Watch my new FREE webinar, How To Double Your Social Security Benefits While Reducing Your Taxes By 80% In Retirement, take advantage of the free offer at the end.

Check out our other blog, the Wealthy Future Blog, to learn all the principles of Missed Fortune, as outlined by best-selling author, Doug Andrew. The articles, audio and video programs will provide information which you will find both enlightening and empowering!

You can also visit our website at Founders Group to learn more about how we can help you optimize your assets or provide you with any financial advice.

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