Two years ago I was notified that Experian had a major data breach that affected 15 million customers records including date of birth, social security numbers, drivers license IDs, addresses and more. Despite being in the security industry, I had put off protecting my credit and identity for far too long. This was exactly the "kick in the YKK zipper" I needed. Within a few hours I had grabbed my credit reports, secured my Social Security and IRS accounts, put fraud alerts on my credit files, froze my credit, and removed myself from automated credit offers. Two years later, I am back here to report that the initial time investment was worth the peace of mind (not to mention the paper and time savings from throwing away endless credit card offers).
As you might have heard this week, a data breach at Equifax has compromised all the same types of sensitive information listed above for 143 million people. I am not even going to visit their incident response website to check if I was breached. What is the point? There are about 250 million US adults over the age of 18, and I won't find any comfort in the result of a coin-flip on their website (also note, the site is fundamentally BROKE). Furthermore, as I noted in 2015, these large data breaches are all too common. You are better off assuming your personal data has already been breached and being proactive about it right now.
For this year's Equifax breach I will be spending all of ZERO minutes trying to protect myself. I want you and your family, friends, and colleagues to be in the same position for the next breach. I am re-linking to the original step-by-step guide here (just replace the noun
Experian with Equifax this time around):
Cheers 🍻 and happy freezing!