How to protect yourself from the potential dangers of the Equifax security breach.

The cybersecurity breach at Equifax in September 2017 reportedly compromised the personal information of as many as 143 million Americans. What should you do?

The solution, according to many experts, is to freeze your credit report. However, a credit freeze protects only against new accounts being opened in your name. Even with a credit freeze, you’re still vulnerable to attacks on existing accounts.

According to Lauren Lyons Cole, editor of Your Money at Business Insider and also a certified financial planner, here’s what you can do to protect your credit and personal identity:

Monitor your accounts regularly. Log in to each account, or use an account-aggregation app like Mint, to review all charges. If you see something suspicious, contact your financial institution immediately.

File your taxes early. Organize your tax information early, and submit your return to minimize the chances of a fraudulent return being filed in your name.

Use secure passwords and two-step verification. Identity theft typically occurs with existing accounts, so focus on safeguarding your online data, especially accounts containing your personal information and financial data.

Set up alerts for new credit activity. Save yourself money and use a free credit-monitoring service, such as Credit Sesame. You can also set up a fraud alert or credit freeze if you want.

Routinely check your credit reports. Request a free credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus once a year through You can get copies from all three bureaus at once, or request a report from a different bureau every four months to be extra vigilant.

Few things are more important than your personal privacy and security. Make sure you’re doing everything you can to help protect them.

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