The dark web. Hackers. Your identity for sale. Fraudulent credit card accounts. Unfortunately, last weeks news of the mammoth data breach of the consumer credit reporting giant Equifax and the reported millions of individuals social security numbers and personal data at risk is just the latest example of the ongoing dangers associated with todays digital age.
Worried yet? Ok, clearly, me too. Its obvious were all going to need to take charge of protecting ourselves as the Equifax news provides the latest reminder that we shouldnt assume financial privacy and security. The scope of this data breach should serve as a catalyst for embracing a regular method for guarding against financial fraud or identity theft into the future.
Insights from the field of behavioral economics, which blends an understanding of both economics and cognitive psychology, demonstrates our tendency to overvalue whats pressing now the present over what can wait the future. This idea of present bias may be inconsequential when it comes to everyday tasks, but when youre talking about being vigilant about monitoring your credit and watching out for financial fraud, it could put you and your family at risk. So while the Equifax scare is top of mind, (and maybe youve already taken steps), make a plan for the future. And make it a new, automatic habit.
Freeze your credit and schedule ongoing credit monitoring
If you havent already done so, sign up with Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Meanwhile, put yourself on a schedule to check your credit for free. Create calendar reminders to monitor it every few months. Such ongoing credit review was always prudent, but now more necessary than ever if the latest reports of credit card fraud spikes last month is any indication of the ongoing risks.
Add extra layers of security