Local financial adviser not overly concerned with Equifax data breach

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The latest massive hacking stunt to grab headlines in 2017 — which crippled one of the nation's top three credit reporting agencies — compromised significant information of nearly half the United States.

While the statistics are alarming, a local financial adviser is telling his clients not to worry just yet.

Equifax announced last week that the personal information of an estimated 143 million Americans was exposed after a massive computer hack that occurred in July. The information includes names, birth dates, addresses, and even social security numbers.

But Rick Kahler, president of Kahler Financial Group in Rapid City, said he thinks the breach will not be a major issue for Americans, because the banks and credit card companies ultimately handle most of the cost of fraud protection.

So, Kahler is advising his clients to be proactive in checking their accounts.

"One thing you can do is change all of your account numbers, and that's pretty easy to do, except with social security, which I think is antiquated,” Kahler said. “Another thing you can do is put a fraud alert on your credit report, and that can be done at no cost, so anybody trying to open an account, you will need to be notified. I think those are two things that a person can do without a lot of, certainly a lot of cost."

Kahler said he understands the leeriness to check a new Equifax website to see if you've been hacked, but notes it's still worth checking to monitor the security of your identity.

He's also encouraging clients to contact their local congressional representatives to discuss more flexibility with social security.

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