Equifax Data Breach & Your Money


Last week Equifax alerted the nation that 143 million Americans had their personal information compromised in a data hack. This is likely the largest and most consequential data breach on record. Many if not most of our clients have likely been impacted by this breach and we are concerned for your security like you.

Information you need to know:

  • Are you impacted? Equifax has a webpage dedicated to information on the hack here. Also, you can determine if you were potentially impacted here.
  • Check your credit reports. You have free access to each of the main credit reporting agencies’ credit reports on you each year. Here is a link to the annual credit report access site. Here is a blog that we wrote regarding this service.
  • Consider a credit freeze. A credit freeze adds extra security measures before your identity can be used to open an account. This will make things harder for both thieves and you but won’t protect your existing accounts. Many people feel more confident about their financial security by using this option. Your credit freeze would need to be set up at each of the three major credit monitoring agencies, Equifax, Experian, and Transunion. To learn more about a credit freeze and the next steps, go here to the Federal Trade Commission’s information page. Here are direct links to each of the three credit services.

Equifax: 866-349-5191
Freeze your credit

Experian: 888-397-3742
Freeze your credit

Transunion: 888-909-8872
Freeze your credit

  • Consider a fraud alert on your accounts. If you don’t choose a credit freeze, you can place a fraud alert on your files. For more information on fraud alerts, the FTC has information here.
  • Be aware of your exposure with taxes and the IRS. A common security theft involves filing false tax returns and taking unearned refunds from the federal government. While it’s not an option for everyone, filing your taxes early can help deter this identity theft. You can also establish a pin with the IRS to prevent fraud. The form is here here and the IRS assistance page can be found here.

Your security at Center for Financial Planning & Raymond James.

One of the values of working with a financial planner who knows you is that they have additional capabilities in personally identifying clients when they make requests. This is why we often require phone conversations and additional security hurdles when a client requests funds go to third parties. We also receive alerts when there is unusual account activity detected by the Raymond James cybersecurity team and protocols when suspicious activity is identified.

You can ensure additional security through an ID Theft Alert. If you place this alert on your accounts, all authorizations for Raymond James accounts will occur by The Center’s team to ensure extra security steps are taken upon your request.

Here is a link to Raymond James page on cybersecurity and your privacy. Also, here is a replay of our January 2016 webinar with the Raymond James Chief IT Security Officer, Andy Zolper.

Melissa Joy, CFP®, CDFA® is Partner and Director of Investments at Center for Financial Planning, Inc.® In 2013, Melissa was honored by Financial Advisor magazine in the Research All Star List for the third consecutive year. In addition to her contributions to Money Centered blogs, she writes investment updates at The Center and is regularly quoted in national media publications including The Chicago Tribune, Investment News, and Morningstar Advisor.

Financial Advisor magazine's inaugural Research All Star List is based on job function of the person evaluated, fund selections and evaluation process used, study of rejected fund examples, and evaluation of challenges faced in the job and actions taken to overcome those challenges. Evaluations are independently conducted by Financial Advisor Magazine.

This information does not purport to be a complete description of the developments referred to in this material. Links are being provided for informational purposes only. Raymond James is not affiliated with and does not endorse, authorize or sponsor any of the listed websites or their respective sponsors. Raymond James is not responsible for the content of any website or the collection or use of information regarding any website's users and/or members.