Are you sure your personal information (social security number, name, birth date, etc.) is safe, given the recent Equifax hack? Probably not.
Even if you’re certain that the hack has not compromised your data, you should probably protect it. Your data is valuable, and a hack such as this one is likely to happen again.
To safeguard your personal information, you will want to place a freeze on your credit. To do this, go to the website of one of the major credit monitoring companies — Equifax, Experian or Transunion — and pay a small fee to permanently freeze your credit file. And once you do that, these credit monitoring agencies won’t be able to send your information to any company that does not already have you as a customer or without your consent.
Equifax is also offering one year of free credit monitoring for all Americans who may have been affected by the breach. You can choose to take advantage of that service.
Whether or not you take advantage of them, they will take advantage of you. The failure of Equifax to protect its customers is but one instance of financial institutions taking advantage of customers who trusted them. Credit monitoring agencies are not something we opt in to; they are a facet of the financial machine in this country that we can’t escape (unless you decided to buy gold and bury it like Ron Swanson).