Friday, September 29, 2017

Data Breach: Lock or Freeze Credit

If you have had your credit information stolen or exposed to a data breach, such as Equifax, you need to monitor your credit and bank accounts.

The data breach at Equifax apparently compromised personal information in one of its credit monitoring programs (where consumers can "safely" have their credit monitored for unauthorized use) which included birth dates and social security numbers.  While they are now offering a free (and new) lifetime credit lock program where you control who has access to your credit information, I would be reluctant to trust them again.  Their initial response to the data breach was tardy and the initial data breach customer service website they set up looked like a phishing website.

If you have recently received notification that a debit or credit card is being replaced as the result of a data breach, you would be wise to assume it is probably Equifax related.

Immediately monitor your credit card and/or bank accounts twice daily.  You can use Credit Karma to monitor Transunion and Equifax and Credit Sesame to monitor Experian; both are free.  I would avoid any credit monitoring service which charges a fee.

For the most part, a credit lock program are designed to be continuing fee services and are marketed by credit reporting services, while a credit freeze involves an initial fee and a fee for each temporary lifting (should be $10 --- if you are over 65 years old, an active duty military, or a victim of identity theft it should be free).  The Illinois Attorney General provides information, including form letters for each credit reporting service, on what the fees should be for different individuals and I would expect other state attorney generals to also provide this information.  You should also be able to get non-state specific information from the Consumer's Union.

On the whole, you would probably be better off with doing a security (credit) freeze then getting netted by what is normally a more expensive credit lock marketed program.  Do the credit (security) freeze.

Update 10/3/17:

It may cost victims of Equifax data breach $4.1 billion to freeze credit.

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Saturday, September 23, 2017

Daily Research Links for Week #385 (July 24-39, 2917)

The Pursuit of Financial Happiness(TM) Daily Research Links for Week #385 are here.  They are 12 pages long.  All links are in original language and may include audio, video, or long studies.  They are macroeconomic and financial information worth reading and do not imply I agree or endorse them.  You have to be able to consider and apply critical thinking to anything you read.

I am presently working on Week #393.  If you are interested in an eamil subscription to The Pursuit of Financial Happiness(TM) Daily Research Links, no matter where you live in this World, contact me at

As website is constructed it will archive all past  daily research links (after 4 weeks of existence to non-subscribers) and research topics.    We will also have podcasts again as subjects deserve the attention.

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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Daily Research Links for Week #384 (July 18-24, 2017)

Here is another week of daily research links for Week #384 for The Pursuit of Financial Happiness(TM).  I am now working on Week #393.

Week #384 is only 12 pages long.   As I have indicated previously, these links are being provided to not just inform, but to allow readers to determine the value of these economic and financial research links, that I use. 

If you would like to receive them on a daily subscription basis, wherever you live in the world, let me know at

We are in the process of designing website where we will archive past research topics and weekly links which are at least 4 week old.  We may also put together some past writings and form them cohesively into The Pursuit of Financial Happiness(TM)  e-books on investing, estate planning, and other relevant topics. 

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