I Was Part of the IRS Hack. Now What?

contributed by Lorrie

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Preventing Online Identity Theft

Well, I got my letter the other day letting me know that I was one of the people whose information was hacked from the IRS website. What? How can that be? I wondered. I am so diligent about passwords, identifying images, and identifying questions. Yet, here I am, staring at this letter.

Part of me is very worried. What should I do? Who can I call? And then there is another part of me that just realizes this is an unfortunate aspect of online information storage and exchange. I subscribe to a credit monitoring service, and I email my accountant and let them know. But are you concerned about your own information? Here are a few options if you want to stay on top of your personal information online.

Keeps Tabs on Your Credit Report

If you haven't already done so, you can order one free credit report per year at AnnualCreditReport.com. Look over it to make sure nothing seems out of the ordinary or strange.

Consider an Identity/Credit Monitoring Service

Lifelock is a company that helps you stay on top of your personal information, so you can avoid identity theft. It uses advanced technology to monitor your personal information online and detect when it is used. It also sends you an alert when your information is used, and it will help you restore your identity if you become a victim. If you sign up using this referral/affiliate link, you'll receive a 30-day free trial plus 10% off your final purchase.

You could also look at Experian's ProtectMyId, which has daily detection, internet scans, and also an address safeguard. With their program, you can sign up for helpful text and email credit alerts that are sent out when your credit is checked or used. Be sure to check out the ProtectMyId site if you'd like additional information. You can stop identity theft in its tracks. Experian makes it easy with enrollment in ProtectMyID® (Affiliate Link)

Call your Bank and Your Accountant

If your banking information was part of the personal information hacked, you may consider giving your bank a call. You also may want to let your accountant know, so they can use that information when they prepare your taxes next year.

Consider a Credit Freeze

If you are very concerned, you can contact the credit reporting agencies to place a credit freeze on your account. This type of freeze will not allow lenders, or anyone else, to access your credit report. If you want to apply for credit in the future, you'll need to contact the credit reporting companies to remove the freeze.

Should I use a HELOC for home remodeling and repairs?

Identity theft can be a big problem, and it's becoming more and more common. Hopefully, these tips will help you stay on top of protecting your personal information and identity.

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