I returned recently from weeks of travel to find not one but two ‘data breach’ letters in my mail. Someone had hacked my personal details from a random server(s). This type of incident is no longer an exception; it’s the norm. The more data are stored on cloud-based systems around the world the likelier each of us are to experience theft of our information.
What can you do?
First, it’s highly unlikely you can avoid it. If you use internet-based services, if you use apps, even if you just have a phone you’re likely to have your data stored in the cloud.
Second, keep an eye on your credit report, you can view it here once/year for free. Most credit card companies are now offering free credit score alerts as well.
So what’s the fun part?! Most of the companies will offer cash or credit protection as part of goodwill to customers for losing your data. 150 million people are part of the Equifax settlement (that means you’re probably on the list!), you can use this link to check your name and apply for credit monitoring, OR ask for a $125 check! (there is some fine print which explains the possibility you may not get the entire amount…but why not try?)
More free money: I am a big proponent of shopping your auto/home insurance annually, as companies depend on your inertia to raise premiums regularly. I recently utilized Root Car Insurance, an app-based service that will monitor your driving (through your phone) for 30 days, then make you an offer for insurance based on the data. It seemed too good to be true, but I signed up and did my 30 days, and I received an offer almost 30% less than I was about to pay on a renewal. How simple! Here is a link if you’d like to give it a try.
(Important disclaimer: I will get $50 for each person that uses that link and so will you! Plus, you have to actually be a decent driver to benefit, so you may see no savings at all. I’m also making no claim that this insurance company is better than any other, you do your own homework before getting a policy. I’m just telling you I saved a lot of money!)
Finally, another reminder from previous posts. This site allows you to search for and claim money the government may be holding on your behalf. I have found money, I have found others’ money, it’s really out there. Go get it!