A few days ago it was announced that 143 million American consumers were affected by Equifax’s data breach. Equifax is one of the three major credit reporting agencies so if you have a credit report your personal information could possibly be compromised.
Here are some of the facts:
- The breach lasted from mid-May 2017 through July 2017.
- Personal identifying information that was compromised included people’s names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some instances, driver’s license numbers.
- 209,000 credit card numbers.
- 182,000 dispute documents that included personal identifying information.
- The hackers also stole personal information for people who live in the UK and Canada.
What you should do
To see if you’re one of the lucky persons affected by this compromise you can go to www.equifaxsecurity2017.com. Please access this site through a secure computer and an encrypted network connection as you’ll have to enter personal information.
To check if your information was exposed by the Equifax data breach, click on the “Potential Impact” tab and enter your last name and the last six digits of your Social Security number. Regardless if you were affected by the breach or not you can sign up for one year of free credit monitoring service. You will have up to November 21, 2017, to enroll.
Here are some steps you can take to protect yourself after a data breach and to be honest you should be doing steps 1,3, & 4 regularly:
- Check your credit report – You should check your credit report at least once per year to make sure there aren’t any accounts or activity that you don’t recognize. You can do this for free at annualcreditreport.com. This will pull your credit report from the three major credit reporting agencies, Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian.
- Consider placing a credit freeze or fraud alert on your files.
- Monitor your bank and credit card statements regularly – Make sure all transactions are ones you’ve done and authorized.
- File your taxes early – As soon as you get all your necessary information to file your taxes you should. Fraudsters will steal your social security number to receive a tax refund.
If you are a victim of identity theft or are looking for more information on the topic check out IdentityTheft.gov.