No, I haven’t gotten my identity stolen. I hope to keep it that way. But on Saturday, I got the dreaded letter in the mail. The one that says “Hey, we managed to somehow reveal your personal info, including your Social Security Number. Sorry! But hey, you can get a free credit report at annualcreditreport.com, so you might want to check that out. Another layer of security is to consider earning an mba in fraud management to better protect yourself and your finances.
This was the fault of a former employer, someone I haven’t worked for in over six years, so it’s frustrating to see this happen. From what I understand, someone accidentally dragged and dropped a file into the wrong folder, thus publishing it on the internet. It wasn’t linked, but we all know that scammers are really good at finding this sort of thing. So now I wait.
Unfortunately, I had already used my three free credit reports for this year (well, this 12 month period), so I had to buy a report to check it. And am going to have to continue to do so for a while. I did put a fraud alert on my credit reports, per the suggestion of my former employer.
I also decided to check out a new service. Equifax offers something called ID Patrol. One perk of this service is that each year, you get a 3-in-1 report covering all three companies, which was something I wanted to see right now. But the services looks pretty interesting. For $14.95 a month, you get unlimited Equifax reports, the yearly 3-in-1 report I mentioned, a fraud alert feature, access to ID theft resolution specialists, ID theft insurance, and other services. Additionally, they scan the underground websites that sell stolen ID information for your information and alert you if they find it. I thought that sounded very interesting.
I did some research on the service and really didn’t find a lot about it, good or bad. So I’m interested to see how I like it.
And yes, I know that a lot of the services they provide are services I could do myself. I could continually check my credit reports and put alerts on my accounts and that sort of thing. It’s an easy process. But it’s time consuming and takes commitment. Let’s be honest, sometimes it’s just easier to pay to have someone else do it for you. I like that I can check my Equifax report every single day if I so choose. Sure, I won’t do it, but it’s a nice feature to have.
I’m crossing my fingers that this is all unnecessary and that no one managed to find the file my former employer managed to dump onto the internet. That would be the best case scenario.
Megan is a 40-something government employee in the Washington, DC area. She got interested in Personal Finance when she got out of college and realized that her paycheck wasn’t going to go as far as she had hoped. Since starting this blog, she has managed to buy a house and make a solid start on her retirement goals, and hopes to help others do the same. Here is her story:
In 2007, I was a gainfully employed 20-something with no debt but not a lot of knowledge about personal finance. It was a co-worker’s comment about Roth IRAs that sent me to the internet, searching for information. It was then that I realized that I really didn’t know a whole lot about personal finance and that my current financial situation was due a lot to inherent frugal tendencies, generous family members, a fear of debt, and good luck. While that was working for me, clearly I needed a better plan.
While I had no debt, I was also pretty much living paycheck to paycheck and not worrying about going over budget (I say this as if I had a real budget) because I had an emergency fund set aside to cover any overages.
Except that’s not what an emergency fund is for.
So I did a lot of research, read a lot of blogs, and decided that I needed a plan. I needed to budget. I needed to know what I was spending my money on. I needed to prepare for the future.
I decided to create a blog not only to make myself accountable to others but also to share the knowledge that I gained along the way. I’ve learned so much from my fellow bloggers, and I hope that my readers can find something useful in what I have to share as well.