Stretch Your Dollar: Tips for protecting yourself against cyber thieves

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(WTNH)– You may have never used Equifax but the credit reporting agency could still have tons of your personal information. This summer hackers made off with the most crucial tools that identity thieves need to impersonate you.

As these hacks become more common, it’s something everyone needs to pay attention to because these are tips we can all benefit from. More and more hacks and scams are popping up every day. It pays to know how to protect yourself.

143 million Americans may be impacted by the hack on Equifax. Thieves stole names, social security numbers, birth dates, addresses and driver’s license numbers.

Hackers also got more than 200,000 credit card numbers and other documents containing personally identifying information. This kind of data is extremely valuable to cyber thieves.

If a cybercriminal maxed out a credit card in your name, it will be tough passing a credit check. Good luck getting a new cell phone, a student loan, a car or a mortgage.

If someone gets a driver’s license in your name and runs a red light or gets a speeding ticket, you’re on the hook. So what can you do?

Freeze your credit. It can be a pain because you’ll have to unfreeze it every time someone needs to run a credit check on you. But it should prevent most forms of identity theft.

Regular credit monitoring is important. And online resources, including the identity theft resource center, provide excellent tools to discover how to defend yourself against identity theft.

Experts recommend at least including this in your 6-month financial check-up. Every 6-months you should re-evaluate your finances and spending habits. Make sure you’re also paying attention to your accounts security and any suspicious activity.

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