(800) 220-8219 Contact Us CLIENT LOGIN

The Greatest Hack Of All Time, And What To Do NOW

Given my passion for professional and college baseball, you might think I am about to tell you about the feats of Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees, or Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins, the current leading home run hitters in the American and National Leagues. Or perhaps Dave Kingman, aka King Kong,

I couldn’t wait to watch Kingman hit. It was either a strikeout, or seemingly one of the longest HRs you’d ever see hit. For those of you not in the know of baseball, a “great hack” is a compliment. For the batter, it means they hit the hell out of the ball, even if it wasn’t over the fence.

Unfortunately, the “greatest hack” I’m writing you about isn’t related to baseball, but rather the biggest cybersecurity breach in U.S. history (even bigger than Target’s), thanks to Equifax, the oldest of the three largest American credit agencies.  In case you’ve been oblivious to the news since last weekend, criminals have accessed the personal data of about 143 million U.S. consumers, including full names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses, and in some cases, driver license numbers.

In the outline below, I’m summarizing what you should do, and how.

First Off, Determine If Your Data Has Been Breached

The first step would be to go to the Equifax website at www.equifaxsecurity2017.com. A box will pop up and ask you for the last 6 digits of your Social Security number and your last name.  Then check the box that says “I am not a Robot,” and hit submit.  You will then get one of two messages back.

For myself, the message said “Based on the information provided, we believe that your personal information may have been impacted by this incident.”  That’s a nice way of saying “someone has stolen your personal data.”  Follow along here.  Even if you get the other message that says “we don’t believe your information has been impacted,” it will not change the advice we are following and outlining below.

Simply put, unless you are in the middle of applying for some type of credit (mortgage, equity line, credit card), you should freeze your credit now, not only with Equifax, but will all three reporting agencies (the others are TransUnion and Experian).  If you need credit, it is fairly simple to temporarily lift a security freeze, by supplying the 10-digit personal identification number (PIN) that you will be provided with along with other information regarding the third party who needs access to your credit file (example, Chase Bank).

Just remember this is the safest way to guard your credit and identity theft given the magnitude of this security breach.  Normally, there is a small fee of $10 or $20 to place or lift a security freeze, but given the public backlash, Equifax is providing this for free for at least the next 30 days.  At present, both TransUnion and Experian have not responded to media requests (even from the NY Times) as to whether they are going to charge consumers for this service.

Don’t Waste Your Time Calling Them Or Going Online

We did a real-time test this afternoon while we were meeting with a client, and my partner, Steve Medland, went online to the Equifax website and attempted to freeze his credit online.  Here’s what came back:

“We’re sorry……we cannot process your online request concerning an Equifax security freeze.  To assist us in processing your request, please submit in writing the required items outlined below.”

The bottom line is, the servers handling the web traffic for all three credit reporting agencies are so overwhelmed, they cannot handle the requests.  So, instead of getting frustrated with your computer or sitting on hold with some customer service hotline for who knows how many minutes, the easiest thing to do is simply write a letter to each of the three agencies and mail it to them.  Below is what you need to include in the letter.

For all security freeze requests, please submit the following ID information:  your complete name, including any suffix (e.g. Jr., Sr., etc.), complete address, Social Security number and date of birth.  Please send your required personal ID information and mail to:

Equifax Information Services

P.O. Box 105788

Atlanta, GA  30348


TransUnion LLC Security Freeze

P O Box 2000

Chester, PA 19016



P.O. Box 9554

Allen, TX  75013

Even though the data breach occurred with Equifax, it is not enough to place a credit freeze with just them.  You should do it with all three agencies.

A Few Things To Remember

As we noted above, based on your state’s law, there may be a fee for placing or lifting a freeze, or for obtaining a replacement PIN if you lose it or forget it.  A security freeze remains on your credit file until you remove it, so you will need to plan ahead and unfreeze it before you apply for new credit.

In addition, as I reported in an earlier newsletter on the topic of credit monitoring services such as LifeLock, which typically charge about $120 per year to “watch over” your credit, once you have a credit freeze in place, you have no need for the services of LifeLock.  There’s nothing for them to monitor.  You’re just throwing money away.  On a personal note, I got lazy last November on our renewal date when I intended to cancel LifeLock and place a credit freeze on my own file and my wife’s, and since I believe there were no refunds once you allowed a renewal, I figured I would just wait until this November.  Here we are.

Lastly, for couples, each of you need to place a freeze on your own data.  It is not good enough for a husband to place a freeze while his wife does nothing, or vice versa.

Should you need any assistance with any of the above, or have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact Steve or myself.  We’re here to help (unlike Equifax and company).

Our Digital World—-Get Used To It

As the Internet has grown in stature and use, and the use of smart phones has proliferated all over the world, the growth of cyber crimes and security breaches of personal consumer data has grown exponentially.  The current Equifax “hack” is the greatest of all time—-until next month or soon thereafter, when undoubtedly there will be one even bigger.  It is part of the convenience we all pay for the world we live in, which undoubtedly is a better world than it was 10 years ago before the advent of smart phones.  But, it does not come without consequences.  Take the time to protect yourself.  When the company whose job it is to protect your data gets hacked, it is easy to assume that your data is not safe anywhere.  So, a credit freeze is one of the best ways to protect yourself.

Carry On My Wayward Son—The Markets

This update is intended to almost solely focus on the Equifax mess, so I will have a more normal monthly piece in a couple of weeks, including our customary dose of humor at the end.  For now, though, several stock indexes, including the S&P 500, are at all time highs as of today.  Whether it be hurricanes, North Korean missiles, or the mess we call Congress, financial markets continue to shrug off events and go higher. By the way, that is not happening with Equifax stock, which in just the one week since the news broke, has collapsed from 142 to 93, a -34% loss.  The company is facing likely millions of dollars in litigation plus a Federal investigation.  Hey, the worst that can happen is the stock can go to zero.

For now, the technicals continue to support higher prices in the overall equity markets.  Next week, though, the Fed will meet and likely announce they are going to stop reinvesting the interest payments from their massive bond portfolio.  This is a form of tightening monetary policy, and all we can do is watch to see how markets react.  Eventually, this bull market will end, but it is not probable right now.


Thanks for your continued trust and confidence in all of us at TABR.



Bob Kargenian, CMT

TABR Capital Management, LLC (“TABR”) is an SEC registered investment advisor with its principal place of business in the state of California.  TABR and its representatives are in compliance with the current notice filing and registration requirements imposed upon registered investment advisors by those states in which TABR maintains clients.  TABR may only transact business in those states in which it is notice filed, or qualifies for an exemption or exclusion from notice filing requirements.

This newsletter is limited to the dissemination of general information pertaining to our investment advisory/management services.  Any subsequent, direct communication by TABR with a prospective client shall be conducted by a representative that is either registered or qualifies for an exemption or exclusion from registration in the state where the prospective client resides.  For information pertaining to the registration status of TABR, please contact TABR or refer to the Investment Advisor Disclosure web site (www.adviserinfo.sec.gov).

The TABR Model Portfolios are allocated in a range of investments according to TABR’s proprietary investment strategies. TABR’s proprietary investment strategies are allocated amongst individual stocks, bonds, mutual funds, ETFs and other instruments with a view towards income and/or capital appreciation depending on the specific allocation employed by each Model Portfolio. TABR tracks the performance of each Model Portfolio in an actual account that is charged TABR’s investment management fees in the exact manner as would an actual client account. Therefore the performance shown is net of TABR’s investment management fees, and also reflect the deduction of transaction and custodial charges, if any.

Comparison of the TABR Model Portfolios to the Vanguard Total Stock Index Fund, the Vanguard Total International Stock Fund and the Vanguard Total Bond Index Fund is for illustrative purposes only and the volatility of the indices used for comparison may be materially different from the volatility of the TABR Model Portfolios due to varying degrees of diversification and/or other factors.

Past performance of the TABR Model Portfolios may not be indicative of future results and the performance of a specific individual client account may vary substantially from the composite results above in part because client accounts may be allocated among several portfolios. Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that any specific investment will be profitable.

The TABR Dividend Strategy presented herein represents back-tested performance results. TABR did not offer the Dividend Strategy as an investment strategy for actual client accounts until September/October 2014. Back-tested performance results are provided solely for informational purposes and are not to be considered investment advice. These figures are hypothetical, prepared with the benefit of hindsight, and have inherent limitations as to their use and relevance. For example, they ignore certain factors such as trade timing, security liquidity, and the fact that economic and market conditions in the future may differ significantly from those in the past. Back-tested performance results reflect prices that are fully adjusted for dividends and other such distributions. The strategy may involve above average portfolio turnover which could negatively impact upon the net after-tax gain experienced by an individual client. Past performance is no indication or guarantee of future results and there can be no assurance the strategy will achieve results similar to those depicted herein.

For additional information about TABR, including fees and services, send for our disclosure statement as set forth on Form ADV from us using the contact information herein.  Please read the disclosure statement carefully before you invest or send money.

A list of all recommendations made by TABR within the immediately preceding one year is available upon request at no charge. The sample client experiences described herein are included for illustrative purposes and there can be no assurance that TABR will be able to achieve similar results in comparable situations. No portion of this writing is to be interpreted as a testimonial or endorsement of TABR’s investment advisory services and it is not known whether the clients referenced approve of TABR or its services.

By Bob Kargenian | Current News