Monthly Archives: September 2017

The Equifax Data Breach and You

The giant financial story in the news the last couple of weeks is one that should concern you.  Equifax, one of the major credit bureaus suffered a significant data hack.  Why is this a big deal?  In addition to having all of your credit account numbers, Equifax also has your personal information.  Your address.  Your driver’s license number.  Your Social Security number.  Basically, the hackers may have access to everything they need to apply for credit in your name.  And Equifax isn’t something you needed to opt into to potentially be victimized.  If you’ve ever applied for credit of any sort—including utility accounts and student loans—you likely have a credit record with Equifax.  And you should definitely check to see if you may have been included in the hacked data.

Equifax has set up a site here where you can enter your information and find out if your data was included in the breach.  If it was, you can get a year of free credit monitoring by signing up with Trusted ID Premiere through the Equifax-provided link.  But I’ll be honest with you…I signed up a week ago and haven’t received any confirmation that this went through.  The reality is that Equifax is overwhelmed and can’t keep up with the requests.  And I’m not sure that I want to depend on Equifax, the company that leaked my data, to turn around and protect that same data.  I’m actually considering signing up for a paid credit monitoring service for myself.  Somehow it seems worthwhile at this point to have the equivalent of an insurance policy on my credit.

There are some things you can do on your own to secure your data.  The free credit monitoring offered by Equifax is one option.  But you can also add a credit freeze to your credit reports.  The freeze would make it so no requests for credit for you can go through without your unlocking the freeze with that credit bureau.  And it’s also a good idea for you to check your credit reports at least once a year.  You can get a free copy from each of the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) once a year at

But please be aware that checking up on your credit is not a “once and done” kind of thing.  In data breach situations like this, the hackers are likely to sit on your data for a few years before actually using it to their benefit (and your detriment).  So now is the time for you to make a habit of looking at your credit with some regularity.  I’m sure this data breach will not be the last.  And it seems each one is more horrifying than the previous one.  Take care of your financial health.  Watch (or insure) your credit!


Birthdays are for Discounts

Today is my birthday.  And aside from the fact that I’m happy to have made yet another journey around the sun, this time labeling myself Fifty and Fabulous, I love a good birthday discount.  I’m a huge fan of discounts.

On Friday I enjoyed a free birthday meal at my local brewpub as one of the perks of being a member of their Pub Club.  I paid a pretty large fee to join about seven years ago, but it has paid for itself over and over and over again in the discounts I have received there.

Today I enjoyed a free salad from the Au Bon Pain in the Katz Building.  How?  I’m a member of their eClub.  You can sign up for free and get all kinds of perks, including a free birthday lunch!

There are tons of places that give you free stuff for your birthday.  You can find a quick list of 100 here.

And because I am now officially Fifty and Fabulous, I just joined AARP.  Yep…I’m now a member of the old people’s club.  Why?  DISCOUNTS!  I looked at all of the discounts available and decided it was worth the annual membership fee.  If for no other reason, I’ll now be eligible for a free donut with the purchase of a large coffee at Dunkin’ Donuts.  That in itself is worth labeling myself as “old.”

I’m having a great birthday.  Sign up for some free stuff and your next celebration of age can be just as fabulous as mine!