The massive Equifax data breach has dominated the digital security landscape for weeks now. It is now estimated that over 145 million American adults are affected by this incident, now considered as the largest credit data breach in history.
The amount of personal information stolen is staggering. It includes names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses, and even driver's license numbers. You might as well assume the hackers have your personal data.
Just think about this for a second - all your critical financial information, including your Social Security number, driver's license number, and credit card data may now be in the hands of cybercriminals, waiting to be used for whatever purpose they see fit. That's scary!
Bet you never thought of this. Click here to learn how the Equifax breach lets ID thieves have surgery on your dime.
What this means for your money
With all this critical information floating around, this means most of our financial lives will be disrupted for years to come.
Think bank accounts, savings accounts, retirement money, investments, credit accounts, Social Security benefits, even medical care - everything that is tied to your identity! Most of these accounts are set up and can be accessed with the information that was stolen in the Equifax breach. Just imagine all the security and identity risks we will be facing from now on.
We've told you about this one essential step you must take to stop criminals from opening credit card accounts under your name. Now I'm going to tell you about another equally important security tool you can use to protect your bank accounts and prevent thieves from stealing your money.
You need to take this one step now
I'm talking about turning on two-factor authentication (2FA) for your accounts. Two-factor identification is a fancy name for adding an extra verification step to the login process of your most critical accounts.
With the 2FA setting enabled, instead of just providing your username or password to log in to an account, a secondary form of verification is required to prove your identity.
The most popular form of 2FA right now is a special one-time code that's texted to your cellphone.
The idea is that even though hackers may have figured out your credentials, without the special code, they still won't be able to access your account.
This gives you an extra strong layer of security because it's unlikely that hackers have physical access to your smartphone too. Click here to read more about two-factor authentication.
Important links to your bank account's settings
Not all banks support two-factor authentication, but if yours does, set it up as soon as you can. It will definitely add another hurdle for hackers to go through. You can usually set up two-factor authentication either on your online banking account page or within the bank’s official app.
We've done the work for you.
Here are the links to some of the more popular banks or financial institutions' two-factor authentication setup page:
If your bank is not on the list above, call or visit your bank. This useful site, twofactorauth.org, also lists services that use 2FA. It includes not just banks or financial institutions, but other online services, too.
Did you know that your Social Security number is about to change?
Because of the massive Equifax beach, your social security number is about to change.