This week I got a chance to sit down with Virginia Olson from the Benefits Education Team to talk about the recent Equifax data breach. Check out what she had to say and add your comments to the conversation below.
RM: Virginia, can you tell me about your personal interest in the area of identity management?
VO: I am not a novice when it comes to ID theft paranoia. Admitting to having a home shredder decades ago brought me many patronizing smiles and “What do you have that for?” remarks. For starters, two of my now middle-aged sons had their identities abused when they were minors. This was discovered when they left my home to rent their very own first apartments with all the amenities, like electric and phone service. My sons were eventually able to get the lights and phones turned on, but that experience left a lasting impression.
RM: Since the breach was announced in September, many sources have offered advice on how to respond. What are your thoughts on the best response?
VO: So as a hypervigilant, credit monitoring, non-information sharing kind of person, I still felt confused about what steps, if any, I should take after the Equifax data breach announcement. Even before checking the Equifax website, I just knew I was impacted. Many believe if you are an adult, you are impacted too – if not by this particular event, then by a past or future one. When it comes to our private information, the “toothpaste is out of the tube” and there’s no way to put it back. So what to do? You must educate and protect yourself. I honestly feel quite fortunate to have access to an employer-sponsored benefit such as CyberScout. Having this benefit gives me convenient, easy access to identity management services, free credit monitoring, and a responsive call center. I purchased the additional coverage offered by CyberScout because it was a fraction of the cost I had been paying for another company’s coverage.
RM: How can CyberScout helped in the current situation?
VO: I considered calling CyberScout with my concerns about the data breach, but instead I headed to their website hoping to find information that could help me draw my own conclusions. I found good articles in their Knowledge Center under ‘Ask the Expert’ (access with your personal device at www.yourbenefit-idtheft.com). I recommend two of them: Post Equifax: Will Free Credit Freezes Help? written by Adam Levin, founder of CyberScout; and Identity Thieves Bought a New Car in Her Name—Here’s How She’s Fighting It (which gives a disturbing perspective on how ID theft can affect your life). While you’re in the CyberScout website, I also recommend checking out ‘Protect Yourself Tips’.
RM: And what about for folks who are less computer-savvy?
VO: If you prefer talking things over with an expert, you should know that CyberScout has a 99.5% customer satisfaction rate! This means they have some amazing reps who really listen to your concerns then help you determine the right path for you. Call them at 866-989-3170.