Early detection and immediate reaction are the two keys to staying one step ahead of the hackers who more than likely stole your information last week thanks to the massive Equifax breach .
Identity theft victim Leslie Gilman knows how difficult it is for victims to restore their credit. Someone opened a cell phone account and credit cards in her name after her identity was stolen.
First you want to find out if your personal information was compromised in the Equifax breach. To do that just go to www.equifaxsecurity2017.com .
Then you may want to sign up for free monitoring with all three credit bureaus or take it a step further and freeze your credit.
All three credit bureaus will place a free fraud alert on your credit report file. The alerts last 90 days but Equifax is offering a year of monitoring in response to the beach.
A lock or security freeze costs $10 per credit bureau. It prevents credit, loans and services from being approved in your name without your consent.
Equifax is offering free credit freezes until November 21, 2017. The company is also willing to refund fees to anyone who already paid for freezes since September 7, when it announced the breach.
Hillsborough Economic Crimes Detective Tim White says it's all about making yourself less of bulls eye.
Cyber security expert Apolonio Garcia says consumers will get more protection out of professional credit monitoring services. Lifelock and similar companies have plans that are $10 to $15 a month. And some experts question whether it is really a good idea to trust Equifax to monitor your credit on the heels of their massive breach.