In the wake of three client families receiving notices from the Illinois Department of Employment Security indicating that they would start receiving unemployment benefits – while they are fully employed – we want to share a piece of cybersecurity advice.
FREEZE YOUR CREDIT.
There are three primary credit bureaus, and we recommend that you contact all three and request a freeze be put on your credit: Equifax, Experian, and Trans Union. If you are in the midst of buying a home, refinancing your mortgage, buying a car or other expensive item for which you will be taking out a loan, you will need to freeze your credit after you complete your transaction.
You can learn more about freezing your credit and confirm that it will not impact your credit score by visiting the Federal Trade Commission’s consumer site:
Even with a credit freeze, you still need to remain vigilant in reviewing your credit card statements to ensure there are no charges on your account that you did not make.
Sadly, in 2020, you have to assume that all your personal identification information is easily accessible by cyber criminals. In the last several years, there have been significant data security breaches at Equifax, Target, Marriott, eBay, Uber, JPMorgan Chase, Home Depot, and other major companies that collect and store customer data. The only way to ensure that your personal information is not used fraudulently is to freeze your credit and review your monthly statements carefully. Most credit card issuers will refund any fraudulent charges if they are notified in a reasonable amount of time.
If you have questions about freezing your credit, you can contact any of the three credit bureaus or you can reach out to us. We want to help you keep your wealth safe and your credit rating high.