As has been widely reported, the confidential information of more than 145 million U.S. citizens was compromised in a Equifax breach.
The question is, what can you do about it?
There are several options available.
First, you might apply for a credit monitoring service. Equifax is offering theirs for free, but if you (understandably) don't trust that service, you can look to third-party options. Some employers even offer a service like this for to all their employees, so you might check there first.
Second, you can temporarily freeze your credit so that a hacker won't be able to mess with it.
Third, you can also create a fraud alert, so that any creditor who wants to pull your credit must first get your permission.
These are all viable options, and they might not be enough. To truly stay on top of your finances, you might need to actively monitor all of your accounts daily — paying special attention to anything that seems out of the ordinary.
The problem is that if you're like most people, you have accounts with multiple financial institutions, including checking, savings, auto-loans, a mortgage, retirement accounts, and more. Signing into every single one of these accounts separately every day can be taxing. If you do that, you may end up spending hours every week logging in and logging out of each account.
Fortunately, account aggregation via personal financial management (PFM) software enable you to bring in all of your accounts in one place.
Sign in once, check your transactions, and sign out.
The software will even immediately alert you to unusual spending, so you can quickly cancel fraudulent transactions.
It may take a few minutes to set everything up, but after you've done it once every checkup after that will only require a few seconds out of your day. Added up over weeks and months, you'll end up saving hours.
In short, personal financial management software is a viable solution to making sure that fraudulent activity doesn't go unnoticed.