Quantcast
Credit Firm Logo

Client Login

For a Free Consultation
& Credit Evaluation Call
1-800-750-1416

You are worthy of having excellent credit.
Join thousands of people just like you,on a path to improving their credit.
Credit Firm can help you improve your credit faster than ever.

How To Protect Yourself After The Equifax Hack

September 13, 2017 by  
Filed under Blogs, Identity Theft

steps to protect yourself after equifax breach

A few days into learning that Equifax has been hacked the dust has settled and the shock of the largest security breach in modern financial history has become a part of our everyday lives – what do you do now?

Hacks like this are occurring more and more often and unfortunately, becoming a part of everyday life in the 21st century. Recent hacks include Yahoo, the IRS, the DNC, Snapchat, Netflix, US Dept. of Vet Affairs, Home Depot, T-Mobile/Experian, UPS, Twitter, Evernote, AOL, AMG, Citi, Zappos, Red Cross, Quest Diagnostics, Banner Health, British Airways, Linkedin, the list goes on and on and on.

You can view an interactive infographic of the worlds largest data breaches here.

You can no longer depend on others to protect your private and personal financial information, at this point we must all assume that criminals have access to all of our names, addresses, phone numbers, social security numbers, drivers license numbers, etc…, pretty much everything. Knowing all of this, it’s up to each of us to be diligent in protecting our own identities and the identities of our families.

So how do you protect yourself and your credit?

It’s time to get proactive about protecting your identity and your credit. Follow the following steps to protect yourself from the current Equifax data breach as well as inevitable future hacks.

1. Find Out If You’re Affected

Equifax has created a website dedicated to information about the hack. You can view if your information was impacted by the hack via the following link:
https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/potential-impact/

Click “Check Potential Impact” and enter your information on the following page.
If your information was compromised you will be given the following message;
Based on the information provided, we believe that your personal information may have been impacted by this incident.

You will then be given instructions on enrolling in TrustedID Premier for 1 year at no charge with no credit card required.

NOTE: You have until November 21, 2017 to enroll.

TrustedID Premier includes:

3-Bureau Credit File Monitoring
– Credit file monitoring and automated alerts of key changes to your Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion credit files.

Equifax Credit Report Lock
– Allows you to prevent access to your Equifax credit report by third parties, with certain exceptions.

Social Security Number Scanning
– Searches suspicious web sites for your Social Security number.

Equifax Credit Report
– A copy of your Equifax Credit Report.

$1MM Identity Theft Insurance
– Up to $1 million in ID theft insurance. Helps pay for certain out-of-pocket expenses in the event you are a victim of identity theft.

NOTE: There was some confusion whether signing up for the credit monitoring service meant that consumers signed away their right to sue Equifax via an arbitration clause.

On 9/11/2017, Equifax posted an update on their website, which included the following: “We’ve added an FAQ to our website to confirm that enrolling in the free credit file monitoring and identity theft protection that we are offering as part of this cybersecurity incident does not waive any rights to take legal action. We removed that language from the Terms of Use on the website, www.equifaxsecurity2017.com. The Terms of Use on www.equifax.com do not apply to the TrustedID Premier product being offered to consumers as a result of the cybersecurity incident.”

2. File a Fraud Alert

A fraud alert is an instrument given to you by the 3 credit reporting agencies, Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion, which notifies lenders and creditors who pull your report to take additional steps to verify your identification before extending credit.

A fraud alert only allows creditors to gain access to your credit reports if they verify your identity. For example, if someone applies for an auto loan in your name and you have a fraud alert active on your credit file, the business must call you to verify whether you are the person applying for the loan before accessing your credit reports. If you do not verify that you are the person applying for credit or simply do not pick up the phone, the business will not be given access to your credit report and loan will not be made.

According to the FCRA, consumers may initiate a Fraud Alert with any of the 3 credit bureaus for free at any time. You do not need to contact each of the 3 bureaus to initiate the fraud alert, by law, once one credit bureau is notified of your request for a fraud alert, they will contact the remaining 2 credit bureaus to initiate a fraud alert with them as well.

There are 3 different Fraud Alerts

1. Initial Fraud Alert
This fraud alert is available for everyone at any time and lasts for a period of 90 days.

2. Extended Fraud Alert
This fraud alert is only available to actual victims of Identity theft or fraud. You will have to forward a copy of an Identity Theft Report to initiate this alert. This fraud alert entitles you to 2 free credit reports from each of the credit bureaus within the first 2 months of initiating the alert as well as another free report within the next 12 months. This fraud alert lasts for a period of 90 days.

3. Active Duty Military Alert
This fraud alert is available to service members on active duty and lasts for a peiod of 1 year.

We suggest that everyone activate an initial fraud alert on their credit to add an extra layer of protection from identity theft.

You may initiate the fraud alert online, by mail or by phone via the following info;

TransUnion:
1-800-680-7289
https://www.transunion.com/fraud-victim-resource/place-fraud-alert
Fraud Victim Assistance Division, P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92834-6790

Equifax:
1-800-525-6285
https://www.alerts.equifax.com/AutoFraud_Online/jsp/fraudAlert.jsp
P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374-0241

Experian:
1-888-EXPERIAN(397-3742)
https://www.experian.com/fraud/center.html
P.O. Box 9554, Allen, TX 75013

Please Note that you can request that a Fraud Alert be removed at any time.

3. Review Your Credit Reports

Get your free credit reports from all 3 credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion) at www.annualcreditreport.com. Once you have the reports, review them and look for anything out of the ordinary like suspicious addresses, phone numbers, and account information. If you notice any suspicious activity on your credit reports make sure that you contact the credit bureaus, the creditor reporting the information, the FTC, the CFPB, and if necessary your local law enforcement. If you need help dealing with identity theft on your credit reports contact CreditFirm.Net at 800-750-1416 for help.

4. File Your Taxes Early

The Equifax data breach gave hackers access to your personal data including your name, address, phone numbers, date of birth, social, and other financial information which, in the wrong hands, can be used by criminals to file your taxes and steal your refund. Don’t wait till the last minute, file your taxes as early as possible to safeguard your refund.

5. Be Weary of Scam Phone Calls

Now that your social security number may be compromised and in the wrong hands, be weary of calls from collection agencies or even people claiming to be from the IRS demanding payment on a debt. They may threaten you with lawsuits and jail time and even have your personal info like your social and date of birth to confirm your identity but, the law is on your side. If you receive calls from anyone claiming that you owe them money, whether it’s the IRS, Collection Agency, or Law Firm, you can simply demand that the person stop calling you and forward any future communications to you via standard mail in accordance with the FDCPA. If you receive a document in the mail from a collection agency requesting payment on a debt, consider requesting Debt Validation from the collection agency – which forces the agency to provide copies of documents which you signed with the original creditor corroborating their story and proving your liability in the debt. If you are receiving calls or mail from companies demanding payment on debt that you’re not sure about, contact CreditFirm.Net at 800-750-1416 for help.

6. Check in With Your Local DMV

Part of the security breach at Equifax included access to data such as your drivers license numbers. Although less common than typical identity theft that involves accounts being opened in consumers names, some criminals may attempt to create fake drivers licenses with your information and numbers which may lead to parking tickets, moving violations and in some cases even arrest warrants. Check in with your local Department of Motor Vehicles or Secretary of State office every once in a while and request a copy of your driving record.

Be Proactive About Protecting Your Credit

Stay on top of your credit and personal information, make sure that you keep an eye out for any suspicious activity, and if you have any questions or need help resolving an identity theft or credit issue you can call 800-750-1416 for help.

 

 

Why Choose CreditFirm.net?

Assurance. Our Credit Repair process was developed by experienced attorneys.

Speed. Documents are typically processed and sent out for investigation within 3-5 days.

Support. Award winning customer service guarantees your satisfaction.

CreditFirm.net Review

Equifax Hacked: 143 Million Identities Stolen

September 7, 2017 by  
Filed under Blogs, Identity Theft

equifax breach

Thursday September 7, 2017 – Equifax reveals that sometime between May and July of 2017, criminals hacked their system by exploiting a vulnerability in a website application to gain access to consumer credit information including;
– Names
– Birth Dates
– Social Security Numbers
– Addresses
– Drivers License Numbers
– Over 209,000 Credit Card Numbers
– Credit Dispute Documents for 182,000 Consumers

According to Equifax, this hack has affected as many as 143 million U.S. consumers. Equifax, is working with Federal and State authorities as well as a leading private security firm on investigating the data breach but, in the meantime they are reaching out and contacting consumers who’s information was compromised via email.

The hack also exposed data of an unknown number of UK and Canadian consumers which makes this a global disaster for Equifax and every consumer affected.

On top of everything, according to the SEC, 3 Equifax executives, including Chief Financial Officer (CFO) John Gamble Jr., sold nearly $2 million in Equifax stock days after the data breach was discovered. The SEC declined to comment on the matter but, criminal charges may be pending.

You can find out if YOUR personal information was compromised by this hack at the following Equifax website: https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/potential-impact/

NOTE: This may be a great time to initiate a FREE fraud alert on your credit file to add an extra layer of security. And as always, keep an eye out for any suspicious activity on your credit reports. You can learn more about adding a Fraud Alert to your credit file at the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) website: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0275-place-fraud-alert

In response, Equifax is offering every consumer in the U.S. FREE ID Theft Protection and FREE Credit Monitoring. Here’s a short message from Rick Smith, Chairman and CEO of Equifax.

UPDATE: Find out how to protect yourself and your credit after the Equifax data breach.

If your credit information was compromised and you’re dealing with Identity Theft, contact us at 800-750-1416 to find out how me can help you get your life back.

 

 

Why Choose CreditFirm.net?

Assurance. Our Credit Repair process was developed by experienced attorneys.

Speed. Documents are typically processed and sent out for investigation within 3-5 days.

Support. Award winning customer service guarantees your satisfaction.

CreditFirm.net Review

Another New Credit Score Is Coming

April 13, 2017 by  
Filed under Blogs, Credit Score

VantageScore

If you use CreditKarma.com you might be familiar with the fact that the scores they report are sometimes 5 points off your actual FICO score and sometimes 50 points off. Well, get ready for more fun as the most popular credit score for consumers and least used credit score for lenders gets an overhaul.

VantageScore, a collaborative project from Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion gets it’s 4th upgrade and it will undoubtedly cause a lot of confusion.The VantageScore was created back in 2006 when the credit bureaus noticed a trend of consumers interest in their own scores. Instead of selling consumers scores which they had to buy from other companies – the credit bureaus now had their own scores they could profit off.

So what’s the big change you ask?
Well, this new iteration of the VantageScore will score how much of your debt you actually pay off every month. In short, consumers who pay their credit card debt off in full every month will see their scores increase while those that transfer the debt from month to month will see a decrease in their scores.

According to TransUnion, consumers who do not pay off their cards in full each month are 3 to 5 times riskier than people who pay in full each month. And VantageScore v4.0 will be the first score tracking and scoring this data.

What does this mean to you?
Pay your credit cards off every month to get the most out of your VantageScore and make sure that your credit card balances are under a 20% utilization when the creditor reports your information to the credit bureaus.

What else is new?
VantageScore v4.0 will completely ignore medical collections which are older that 6 months and have been paid by insurance. Unpaid medical collections will see a significant decrease in their impact to your score.

In Conclusion
VantageScore v4.0 is set to be released Fall of 2017 so, you may notice some changes in your scores on CreditKarma.com, CreditSesame.com, Quizzle.com, etc… but, don’t forget one very important thing. At this point, those scores are completely useless because very few lenders actually use the VantageScore scoring model for their lending decisions.

Your Credit Score Is About To Get a Shakeup

Credit

Mark this date, July 1, 2017.

This is the date when 12 million consumers could see their FICO credit scores increase and more importantly this is the date when millions of Judgments and Tax Liens will be purged and deleted from credit reports.

As part of a nationwide settlement from over 30 states, the 3 credit reporting agencies. Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion, will remove these public records from consumer credit reports if the lien or judgment does not match a minimum of 3 out 4 criteria which are name, address, date of birth, and social security number.

This does not mean that ALL judgments and tax liens are going to be deleted but, those 12 million consumers with at least 2 errors on their accounts can expect to see their scores increase about 20 points come July.

But, that’s not all, the new guidelines will also include a requirement that public records are checked and updated at least every 90 days – if the guideline isn’t followed, the judgment and tax liens are to be removed off the credit reports.

This is a big win for consumers and a huge step in the right direction toward accuracy and fairness.

FREE Credit Score – Exposed

March 21, 2017 by  
Filed under Blogs, Credit Score

free credit score guy
Remember those catchy TV commercials advertising free credit scores? Haven’t seen them in a while have you? Well, that’s because they were deceptive and the credit scores were completely useless and not actually free.

Most lenders, whether they are auto, home, credit card, etc… use FICO scores to determine consumer creditworthiness but, those scores belong to the Fair Isaac Company and the credit bureaus have to buy them from FICO in order to sell them back to the consumers. This wasn’t very profitable so the credit bureaus found a way around this by creating their own credit scores. The Vantage Score was born, a score the credit bureaus could provide to consumers without having to pay anything to FICO. Unfortunately, because no lenders use Vantage Scores, consumers are tricked into buying scores which are completely useless. But, it doesn’t end there, once a consumer gets their useless score they are automatically enrolled in credit monitoring ranging from $16 to $30 per month.

What You Need To Know

Although there are plenty of places that advertise free credit scores like CreditKarma.com, Credit.com, CreditSesame, Quizzle.com, etc… most of these scores are VantageScores and are NOT used by lenders. There are credit card companies like Discover, Barclays Bank, and Capital One which offer a free FICO scores, you can also purchase your FICO scores directly from the Fair Isaac Company via their website www.myfico.com.

Back To The Credit Bureaus

The CFPB (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau) found that 2 credit bureaus deceptively advertised that the scores which they provided were the same ones that lenders used to determine creditworthiness. TransUnion and Equifax were ordered to pay a $5.5 million fine and give $17.6 million in refunds. In a statement from Richard Cordray, director of the CFPB, “Credit scores are central to a consumer’s financial life, and people deserve honest and accurate information about them.”

Neither TransUnion nor Equifax admitted any wrongdoing and stated that they had complied with the law and were committed to better educating consumers about their credit.

Conclusion

All credit scores are NOT created equal, understand that the type of credit score you’re looking at is just as important as the score itself.

Next Page »