A Data Engineer’s Guide to Securing your Identity After a Data Breach
- Claim your social security account
- Freeze your credit
- Place a fraud alert
- Opt out of pre-screened credit offers
Companies collect a ton of data on individuals. Data Brokers purchase that data (is borderline illegal), aggregate it, often with personal information, and sell it. This increases the severity of a data breach for consumers, it also increases the incentive for criminals to steal company’s data.
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:
This guide should take you approximately 20 minutes to complete.
1. Claim your social security account:
Log into the US Social Security website and make an account, then you’re all good! https://www.ssa.gov/myaccount/security.html
2. Place a credit freeze with the 3 major credit bureaus:
Credit Companies are required by law to allow you to freeze your credit for free.
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.)
3. Next, place a fraud alert with Equifax:
This is also required by law.
Equifax makes it easy to set up a fraud alert, plus, they’ll automatically create alerts for you in the other 2 bureaus.
- Choose the basic Initial Fraud Alert level: https://www.equifax.com/personal/credit-report-services/credit-fraud-alerts/
🎉 You’re done!