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How to Protect Your Credit Health After a Data Breach

In our Internet-based world, not only are apps and other methods of making financial transactions evolving at a fast and furious pace, they can also be compromised just as quickly. Credit Sesame believes that each and every person is worthy of achieving good financial health. And because we also understand the importance of maintaining it, here are some easy steps you can take now to protect your credit and financial wellness.

Stay on top of your accounts and statements 

Checking your bank and credit card accounts online is easy, and it only takes a few minutes. It takes even less time once you download your financial institution’s app onto your smartphone. Make it a weekly habit to check your bank and credit card statements. If you see any activity you don’t recognize, contact your bank or credit card provider immediately. Not only will they help you dispute the fraudulent charge, if it is necessary, they can freeze or cancel the credit card account tied to it so fraudulent charges can’t happen again.

To really be in-the-know, sign up for email or text notifications for each of your bank and credit card accounts. That way, you can track all activity as it happens. Most banks make it super easy to create and personalize your alerts.

It’s also a good idea to change your credit card and bank account passwords frequently. Pro tip: Be sure to use a different password for each account and set a reminder to change them every six months.

Lock down your credit, if you need to

If you think your data has been compromised, you can create a fraud alert with any one of the three credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, or TransUnion), and the other bureaus will automatically be notified. Once you have set up a fraud alert and someone tries to create an account using your data, banks and lenders are unable to open an account without directly contacting you first. Click here to set up a fraud alert.

In the event that it becomes necessary, a credit freeze is a more serious step that restricts access to your credit reports entirely. Just be aware that removing a credit freeze takes a little bit of time, and it might impact how quickly you can move on a large purchase, like a home or a car. To fully freeze your credit, you must contact each of the three credit bureaus individually. 

Check your credit regularly

Are you concerned that someone may have created an account using your data, yet you do not know about it? Your Credit Sesame dashboard makes it easy to see any new accounts that have been opened in your name. Checking your dashboard at least once a month makes it easier to stay on top of any fraudulent changes as well as possibly stop them from occurring in the first place. Best of all, you can set a reminder to pop in online or via Credit Sesame’s mobile app—it’s easy, free, and never hurts your score! 

You’ll also receive credit monitoring alerts from us, so if we spot anything fishy, you’ll be in-the-know in a flash. And if someone else does open and use accounts in your name, we are here for you with free Credit Sesame ID Theft Protection.

You can trust that we maintain strict editorial integrity in our writing and assessments; however, we receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners and get approved.
Published July 31, 2019
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