(WAFB) - Financial advisors are telling clients who may have been impacted by the Equifax breach to take immediate action to keep their personal information out of the hands of hackers.
You may have set passwords you thought were secure, but experts say that's not enough. When a company has been breached, your information is at the hands of hackers, and there is a big chance they could use it and ruin your credit. It happened to an estimated 143 million people who had credit inquiries run with credit reporting agency, Equifax. Financial advisor with Dent Assessment Management, Mawe Takyi, says he's been giving his clients the same advice.
"If your name is on the list, you should absolutely freeze your credit," said Takyi.
A freeze means calling all three credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Transunion, and Experian, and asking them to not share your information with vendors until you have it lifted. Takyi says if you are married, it's probably a good idea to go ahead and have your spouse do it too.
"The worst case scenario is that someone would file taxes under their name, someone may go out and make a loan under their name, and some people who may go online and use their identity for activities that are criminal," said Takyi.
Takyi says if someone steals your spouse's information, you too could be held liable. He says it's also probably a good idea to take a couple of steps to make sure your identity is protected. He recommends using a program manager to watch your online interaction and set a two-factor authentication with your passwords, which will require anyone who logs in to enter a verification code. The code is typically sent to your phone via text.
"Unfortunately, in the world we live in now, our information, most of it, is out there. We can try to do things to protect ourselves, but there is no layer of security that is fool proof," said Takyi.
He says that's why it's important to stay on top of your credit reports. It could save you time and a lot of money in the long run.
Click here to see if you’ve been impacted by the Equifax breach.