Update: I suggested previously that you check your accounts dating back to May, when Equifax claimed the breach began. Now Krebs on Security suggests the breach began sooner than Equifax has claimed. Check back to the beginning of November 2016–and maybe before then–just in case. Obviously, if you have been balancing your checkbook and checking and reconciling your accounts regularly as you should be, you may not need to go backward as far. Use your best judgment!
Given the security breaches that have occurred over the last five years and the fact that the recent Equifax hack is considered the most dangerous breach ever, you must be proactive to protect yourself and your future. I’ve already suggested that you start by checking your credit reports. Today, I urge you to check each of your financial accounts–today–to ensure that there have been no unauthorized charges or irregular activity since the beginning of May when the Equifax breach began.
One more thing: You should be checking your accounts regularly anyway. I check mine at least once a week and update Microsoft Money (the program I use to manage my money) each time.
The goal is to verify that there have been no unauthorized charges or unusual activity at least since the Equifax breach began in May or since you last checked your accounts or balanced your checkbook.
What I Did
Given all of my financial accounts are accessible online, I logged on to each of them and verified that my accounts had had no unusual activity since the last time I logged on. I updated Microsoft Money (again, the program use to manage my money) for each account and accomplished two tasks at one time.
- Log on to each of your accounts. Verify that no fraudulent charges, debits, withdrawals, or other unusual activity has occurred since the last time you checked the accounts or since mid-May when Equifax’s breach began. If you do not access your accounts online, call any automated system you use to check your account or call or visit the bank or lender to obtain a printout or interim statement.
- If you see any fraudulent charges or other unusual activity, contact the bank or lender as soon as possible.
- Make a note on your calendar to follow-up on unusual activity. If you saw no unusual activity, make a note to check your accounts again a week from now–and make this task a consistent and frequent one, at this point, for the rest of your life.
How Did You Do?
Did you access your accounts online, or did you have to contact your banks and lenders? Did you find any unusual activity? Let me hear from you in the comments!