(CBS) — At a time when massive data breaches are becoming more common, what steps can you take to protect your personal information?
That’s what 2 Investigator Brad Edwards wondered after his Social Security and driver’s license numbers, birth date and more were compromised three separate times in the last 12 months.
The records were among the more than 9 billion exposed in 7,730 breaches since 2005, according to Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, a nonprofit consumer advocate organization.
Most recently, Edwards’ personal information was compromised in the data breach at credit-rating giant Equifax. He was among the 145 million affected consumers.
U.S. Rep Jan Schakowsky (D-Evanston) grilled the former Equifax CEO on Capitol Hill. She tells Edwards she would like Equifax to freeze, at no cost, the credit reports of the affected consumers.
The step, she says, would help stop identity thieves from accessing a person’s credit.
“We are talking about a vulnerability that could last a lifetime,” Schakowsky says.
Cybersecurity experts recommended that Edwards freeze his credit report at Equifax and the other two major credit rating agencies. That way, if thieves obtain his information it would make it more difficult for them to get a loan or open a credit card.
There is at least some good news with this story. Edwards asked cybersecurity expert and CEO of Keeper Security, Darren Guccione, to scan the “dark web” for his personal information.
At least for now, there was no sign of it.
For more information on ways to protect your information, check out the Federal Trade Commission’s Identity Theft guide.