Last week, one of the big four credit reporting agencies, Equifax, announced it experienced a security breach resulting in criminals accessing personal information of approximately 143 million Americans between May and July of this year. The compromised information included names, addresses, Social Security numbers, and dates of birth. In some instances, driver's license numbers, credit card and credit dispute information were also compromised. This information is nearly everything that is needed to open an account in your name.
First, visit the Equifax breach website at equifaxsecurity2017.com to determine whether you have been impacted. Keep in mind that the full impact of this breach may not be known yet, so consider revisiting the site periodically for the next few weeks.
If you are impacted, consider placing a freeze on your credit with all of the following credit reporting agencies. Freezing your credit is the only way to prevent those with your personal information from opening accounts in your name.