Unless you’ve been living under a rock or totally off the grid (which, if you are good for you we are kind of jealous), you’re likely aware that Equifax, one of the major credit reporting agencies, was hacked.
In the hack, which happened over the summer but we were all blissfully unaware of until September, an estimated 143 million people had their personal information stolen, some of which included license and credit card numbers. This means that nearly 45% of the American population had their information pillaged in the attack.
And if all this hacking, data mining and internet-frenzy have you gun shy about checking your credit, please, for the love of the financial gods, don’t let it stop you. In fact, let it inspire you to take more control over your personal finances.
“I believe the Equi-hack underscores the importance of constantly checking our credit reports given the number of database breaches that occur almost constantly,” John Ulzheimer, an expert on credit reporting and theft, told Forbes via email.
Ulzheimer further added that given your credit’s importance and the fact that you can check in on it every month from a variety of places at no cost, the new normal should be that you’re checking it every four weeks.
“It’s simply too important to turn your back on it for an extended period of time,” he said. “FICO and VantageScores are so influential to our collective bottom lines that we should always have our hands on the pulse of our credit scores.”
To ensure you’re seeing all the information you need to in order to fully assess your credit situation, which affects your rates on mortgages, auto loans and more, Ulzheimer said it’s key to check all three reporting agencies: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion.
“Three different companies, three different reports, and never the same,” he said. “If you check only one it’s like having one-third of your annual physical. It’s simply not comprehensive and not even close to being good enough.”