Happy New Year Neighbors!
Usually, as your Governance Chair I am bringing you information on local, state, and national issues. The year is already shaping up with multiple proposed ordinances and bills that will impact you. But for now, I am offering some information that could save you and your family from a potential financial crisis.
First, I am only sharing information from a class, I am not representing myself as a financial consultant, tax advisor, or attorney. Please feel free to consult with yours before taking action.
Everyone is concerned with home security, but few realize the importance of their cyber security. Without precautions your credit and bank accounts could be severely impacted and possibly wiped out. For my real estate license renewal, I took a class in December with Robert Siciliano a sought-after expert on cyber security.
For three hours we heard stories of how our identities could be stolen, our good credit reduced to nothing and our banks accounts emptied. The biggest recommendation was to enact a credit freeze at all four credit scoring companies (TransUnion, Equifax, Experian, and Innovis).
We have been able to do this since 2008, but no one seems to be taking advantage of this free procedure. It stops you or the bad guys from opening up any new credit lines in your name. Do not worry you can unfreeze it at any time. So, when you want to buy something (like a car or house) you ask which of the four credit companies they will be pulling your credit history from and you unfreeze those accounts for a few days and then refreeze them.
Here is the shocker, you should do this for all of your children, yes, even the baby. Mr. Siciliano shared stories of kids who were making applications for financial aid for college and their credit history was already compromised making them ineligible and setting up a huge mess to try and straighten it out. Look for his book, “Identity Theft Privacy” on Amazon (Best Selling Author recognition). To learn more here is his website for you to research, https://safre.me/.
Here are more helpful tips.
• If you would like to see if your e-mail has been hacked go to https://haveibeenpwned.com/;
• Never pick up a thumb drive off the street and use it;
• Do not use the same password;
• Use a 2-factor authentication for all log ins; and
• Get instant text notification of credit card purchases
Stay safe out there!
Adrienne Abe Wagner
BHHS The Preferred Realty