*This blog is in partnership with TransUnion. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Over the last year, these big brand names have announced hacks to customer data:
- Panera Bread
- Saks Fifth Avenue
- Lord & Taylor
Most people use Facebook, right? And many utilize ride-share apps. At this point, the question really is – who hasn’t been impacted by data hacks?
A recent nationwide survey conducted by TransUnion showed that out of 1,000 adults surveyed, 76 percent know at least one victim of a data breach, 54 percent have been a victim themselves, and of that number, 20 percent have been victims more than once. Of late, compromised data is the price of doing business conveniently online or via a mobile app, although it shouldn’t be this way.
With stats like these, it’s no wonder many can feel powerless when it comes to protecting their data.
My fiance´ is one of the minority
Rich is part of that small minority – the 25 percent or so from the survey who hasn’t experienced a data breach.
He doesn’t use many apps and rarely makes online purchases. He pays for a lot in cash. Still, for even the most diligent data knights, opportunities exist for sensitive and personal information to become exposed.
An example: We’re under contract on a home and Rich needed his tax returns. His accountant accidentally emailed the old returns to a different (and wrong) working email address. So now, someone has Rich’s social security number. And you just never know who that someone might be. Will they ignore the email? Or try to use it for nefarious purposes?
My dad kept our family’s entire personal information on a laptop that got stolen out of his car a few years back, so he sprang for credit monitoring for the whole family. Two years later, we’re in the clear and he canceled the subscription, but I still feel vulnerable without this safeguard. Luckily, TransUnion offers similar protection tools for FREE like TrueIdentity – a free ID protection service that provides credit lock, a free TransUnion consumer report, $25k of ID theft insurance and ongoing free monitoring of your credit.
When it comes to protecting our data and credit, what should we do? For those who don’t want to pay out of pocket for a service, what options exist?
87 percent of those surveyed by TransUnion felt it was their duty to safeguard their own data, but the survey ultimately revealed many don’t know how or where to start.
Fortunately, there are a few new changes to the industry that can make protecting sensitive data easier.
Credit Freeze with Ease
Recently, the Economic Recovery, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act was signed into law requiring that consumers be given the ability to place and remove a freeze on their credit files — for free. Did you know? This legislation went into effect on September 21, 2018. Legislation like this is an important step forward in empowering consumers with the tools they need to understand and manage their credit and protect their personal information.
“Freezing” credit doesn’t prevent your score from changing but can prevent a fraudster from opening an account in your name.
The new mobile app from TransUnion allows consumers to quickly and easily freeze and unfreeze their TransUnion credit reports for free in a matter of seconds whenever they need.
While it may not seem like much, credit freezes used to cost a nominal (read: annoying) fee.
And credit freezes can have a huge impact on protecting your credit. A credit freeze protects consumers by preventing:
- lenders from checking your credit report
- anyone opening a new account in your name
In addition to credit freeze resources, TransUnion offers a variety of credit protection tools, like TrueIdentity, (I wrote about here). This tool is also free and includes a new innovative feature, Lock Alert, which automatically sends real-time alerts to subscribers whenever anyone attempts to access their locked credit report including where and when the attempt happened.
I know that when my personal information was stolen from my dad’s car, I felt much more at ease knowing I had a credit protection product monitoring for any red flags. Also, it was nice to “outsource” that worry (I have enough going on as it is.)
Trying to decide how to protect your credit?
Use the following decision tree to help decide.
In the “breach age,” credit monitoring protection is no longer a “nice to have” or “will do some day,” it’s now a must. Don’t wait until your data is compromised; choose to be in control by leveraging the tips, tools and resources at your disposal from TransUnion.
With the app, it’s never been easier to get started. Now you (and my future husband) no longer have excuses to NOT monitor your credit. Click here to learn more about the myTransUnion app.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of TransUnion. The opinions and text are all mine.