If you're concerned about whether your information has landed in the hands of hackers, here are five things you can do right now:
- Check your free credit reports
- Under federal law you are allowed to request a free copy of your credit report once a year from each of the three credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. You can request a copy of your credit report online at www.annualcreditreport.com.
- Put a fraud alert on your credit
- You can put a fraud alert on your credit reports for free by contacting one of the credit agencies, which is required to notify the other two.
- Keep an eye on bank accounts and credit card statements
- Go through all your bank, retirement, and brokerage accounts, as well as your credit card statements to look for any suspicious activity.
- Sign up for a credit monitoring or identity theft protection service
- Monitoring services usually alert you when a company checks your credit history, a new loan or credit card is opened in your name, a creditor says a payment is late, or if public records show you've filed for bankruptcy, according to the FTC.
- If you're really worried, put a freeze on your credit
- A freeze blocks anyone from accessing your credit reports without your permission. But it can be an inconvenience for you, too. If you want to take out a loan or open a new credit card, you'll have to contact the reporting agency to temporarily lift the freeze. It's also not free.
Source: CNNMoney (New York), Katie Lobosco