A Data Engineer’s Guide to Securing your Identity After a Data Breach

Secure your personal identity in 4 quick steps (~20 minutes).

TLDR:

  1. Freeze your credit
  2. Place a fraud alert
  3. Opt out of pre-screened credit offers

Introduction:

This is all to say, a data breach is seriously bad news.

If your data is exposed in a data breach, your personal identity is at risk. Here’s what you should do to secure your personal identity.

Here’s what I did to secure my personal identity after having my info breached:

1. Claim your social security account:

2. Place a credit freeze with the 3 major credit bureaus:

Freezing your credit basically makes it impossible to open new credit accounts until you unfreeze your account. In my opinion, this is desired, since normal people don’t open new credit accounts (ex: bank accounts, credit cards, loans) on a regular basis. When you need to open a new line of credit, unfreeze things, wait the period it takes to finalize, open the credit account, then re-freeze.

Further reading on freezing your credit: https://www.nerdwallet.com/article/finance/how-to-freeze-credit

Here are links to the 3 major credit bureaus: (I recommend doing them in the provided order.)

  1. Equifax: https://www.equifax.com/personal/credit-report-services/credit-freeze/
  2. Experien: https://www.experian.com/freeze/center.html
  3. TransUnion: https://www.transunion.com/credit-freeze

3. Next, place a fraud alert with Equifax:

Equifax makes it easy to set up a fraud alert, plus, they’ll automatically create alerts for you in the other 2 bureaus.

  1. Choose the basic Initial Fraud Alert level: https://www.equifax.com/personal/credit-report-services/credit-fraud-alerts/

4. Opt out of pre-screened credit offers:

Fill out the following form to opt out of pre-screened credit and insurance offers: https://www.optoutprescreen.com/form

🎉 You’re done!

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