Top conversations over the last 30 days with clients, friends, and family?
- Is the stock market overpriced?
- Will the North Koreans launch another missile?
- Obamacare Repeal – will they, or won’t they?
- Will they kneel or not?
- Michael, what are you doing about the Equifax thing?
If we were playing Family Feud, then the top answer would be “The Equifax Thing”.
This is war and it has been declared on you and me. Whether you know, care or understand what is happening, it is time to do everything in your power to stop the advance on your personal security.
Start with stop being a victim. You must take responsibility for yourself and your family. The simple, easy to hack passwords you are using are a HUGE problem which means you are part of the problem. Using the same, simple, easy to remember password for your critical information must stop. This is step one in arming yourself against the personal identity hackers of the world that are working 24/7/365 to get your information. Also included in this is carrying around your list of passwords in your purse or briefcase. What are you thinking?
How good is the enemy aka “The Hackers”?
February 4, 2016, unknown hackers stole $81,000,000 by sending more than three dozen fraudulent money transfer request to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to send money of the Bank of Bangladesh to bank accounts in the Philippines, Sri Lanka and other parts of Asia. The money transfers totaled nearly $1 BILLION yet the Bangladesh Bank was able to stop nearly $850,000.
Why is it important that you act on your personal identity today?
The hackers that may have your personal information are patient. The accounts that the fraudulent wires were sent to were opened over a year earlier in 2015 and had been dormant with $500 just sitting in them. They are playing the long game and will require your full attention not just today but from today forward into the future.
FULL DISCLAIMER – I am not an expert at stopping identity theft. I am also not waiting on the other side, “The Hackers” to call me up and give me a heads up that I am going to have my stolen data used.
THESE ARE THE STEPS I AM TAKING FOR MYSELF AND MY FAMILY
- Equifax – Enroll in the offer of protecting and monitoring my credit https://trustedidpremier.com/eligibility/eligibility.html Yes, I agree its counter thinking to let the people that got hacked monitor the hen house. It is just a step in my total offense approach to winning this game.
- CreditKarma – Go to Creditkarma.com and sign up. It is FREE. Nothing is free Michael. You are right, they will offer you other credit cards and loans. IGNORE THEM. Set it up so that they send you credit monitoring alerts to your phone. This covers Equifax and Transunion. For Experian, go to https://www.experian.com/consumer-products/identity-theft-and-credit-protection.html
- Experian Dark Web Scan – Use this free offer ON EVERY EMAIL ADDRESS you have. It may take up to 24 hours to get the result. It is worth it. https://www.experian.com/consumer-products/free-dark-web-email-scan.html
- FREEZE YOUR CREDIT – Place a credit freeze on your all three of your credit reports. How does it work? Read that here. https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0497-credit-freeze-faqs
- STOP USING YOUR DEBIT CARD – If you have a hack on your bank debit card, you should get your money back however it may take up to 90 Days. My personal rule is that a debit card is only used for making deposits at the banks ATM or counter and taking cash out. NOTHING ELSE.
- CHANGE YOUR PASSWORDS – this is probably where the issue is not the hackers, it is YOU. We use LASTPASS.com as a password manager and require that all our passwords are 18 digits with numbers, symbols and alphabet letters. There is other software you can use. The important part is to use them.
It can be a pain when you are in a hurry. Just remember that when you realize you have been hacked and now have to spend days and weeks getting your personal credit and bank issues corrected the time spent setting your passwords up will seem insignificant.
The war on your personal identity is happening. As Norman Brinker said in a speech I heard, you have a choice. You can do nothing and later wonder what the hell happened or you can act today and be in charge of what happens.
I’m taking action, what about you?
If you have questions about any of this, then give our team a call and we will support you.
Fall is here, enjoy the festivals or the Texas State Fair.
Michael Tannery CPA CDFA® AIF® ● CEO
Be A Financial Olympian