In the aftermath of the Equifax data breach, American consumers were faced with a stark reality: They could either use the incident to become more proactive about their personal information and put safeguards in place to protect themselves or they could continue as they were and choose to leave their cybersecurity to other forces.
A new report shows that a startling number of people have historically done the latter: About 61 million U.S. consumers were motivated to check their credit immediately after the cyberattack was reported, according to a new survey conducted by Creditcards.com. But the survey also revealed that an astonishing 21% of card-carrying consumers have never checked their credit reports.
Poll: 21% of American consumers haven’t check their credit — ever
To arrive at its poll results, Creditcards.com surveyed 1,001 U.S. adults. Another thing they found is that 26% of them reviewed their credit scores or credit reports within two weeks of the Equifax breach.
Money expert Clark Howard has sounded the alarm on the importance of consumers taking the initiative to protect themselves from cybersecurity incidents. He said there are two things consumers can do:
How to protect your identity: Take these 2 steps
1. Sign up for Credit Karma’s free credit monitoring: Go to CreditKarma.com to sign up for a free account to be able to monitor your own credit lines. An alert will be sent anytime the company notices unusual activity with your account. You also get advice on what factors can affect your credit scores and how to remedy them.
2. Freeze your credit with all three main credit bureaus: Freezing your credit files is the surest way to stop hackers from using — and abusing — your data and ruining your financial life. Clark says this safeguard applies even if the Equifax data breach never even happened.