If your Social Security number gets hacked in any data breaches, including recently hacked T-Mobile, then there's a way to prevent hackers from misusing your identity (i.e. identity theft).
The solution here is that you can institute a security freeze at each of the three credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion.
Once frozen, nobody will be allowed to access your credit report, which will prevent any identity thieves from opening new accounts in your name.
Because most creditors required to see your credit report before approving a new account. But, if they are restricted to see your file, they may not extend the credit or open a new account in your name.
However, there are some disadvantages of doing so.
The cost of a security freeze differs by state (check yours here). However, it is often free for already affected people, but the issue is – if you want to let anyone check your credit, you will need to pay a fee every time to lift the freeze.
This happens not just for your credit applications, but your credit report also gets pulled when you register for a mobile phone contract or apply for a new job or a new apartment as well.
The credit agencies will provide you a unique password to lift the freeze and charge up to $12 each time you lift the freeze. So this option can get costly.
2. Once Used, Nobody can Help
Moreover, if an identity thief has already used your stolen data to open accounts in your name, then a credit freeze will not help you out.
You can check your credit report for free three times a year at annualcreditreport.com. If you suspect any fraud, change your passwords, notify your financial institutions, keep an eye on your financial statements, and report to police.