Government databases have become the target of choice for hackers because they're so easily compromised. That means there's only one way to protect yourself.

South Carolina is now the latest state to have been hit. USA Today  reports that the Social Security numbers of 3.6 million residents were breached. I've heard that's about three-quarters of the entire state.

Meanwhile, there have been 75 other government database breaches just this year alone, impacting an estimated 10 million people in total.

Those numbers are shocking…but what should you do about it?

The solution is simple, really: You can freeze your credit file.

Now, the letter you get when you're in a breach talks about doing a fraud alert and monitoring. But those are just window dressing measures. There's only one real way to protect yourself, and that's with a credit freeze.

It's very simple to do when you follow my step-by-step guide. You'll need about 10 minutes to do it and it will cost you anywhere from zero to $30 depending on your state. That's money well spent when you consider the time you'd have to spend to clean up a full-blown incidence of identity theft!

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Image of Clark Howard About the author: Clark Howard

Clark Howard is a consumer expert whose goal is to help you keep more of the money you make. His national radio show and website show you ways to put more money in your pocket, with advice you can trust. View More Articles

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