Equifax Data Breach

On September 7, 2017, the credit monitoring company Equifax announced that it had been the victim of a data breach potentially impacting 143 million Americans. If you’ve applied for any credit in the digital age, you’re likely included in that number.

According to Equifax, the breach lasted from mid-May through July. The hackers accessed individuals’ names, Social Security Numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some instances, driver’s license numbers. They also stole credit card numbers for about 209,000 people and dispute documents with personal identifying information for about 182,000 people. This breach also affected individuals in the United Kingdom and Canada too.

Here are some recommendations:

  1. Expect an increased amount of phishing emails about the Equifax breach.

    Do not click on any links, or open any attachments, in emails about the breach. If you receive any phishing email related to Equifax, you can forward emails to contactus@first-fed.com to review for your protection. 
  2. Monitor your existing credit card and bank accounts closely for charges you don’t recognize. 

    Contact your financial institution immediately to discuss any discrepancies and take these steps to resolve fraud.
  3. Sign up for an online account with the Social Security Administration.

    The information about you contained in the Equifax breach provides enough information for a criminal to open an account in your name. Do it before they do!  Go to https://www.ssa.gov/myaccount/ to sign up. 
  4. Consider placing a security freeze on your credit file with each of the major credit bureaus.

    This is a very effective way to prevent identity theft that is financially motivated. A security freeze blocks creditors from being able to view your credit file unless you take action to unfreeze your file beforehand.

    To place a freeze, visit these sites: Note: You’ll get a PIN from each of the sites to unfreeze your credit when you need to. Do not forget that PIN! Write it down and store it in a safe place. 

    Due of the volume of requests, it has been reported that Equifax is auto-generating PINs.
  5. Check your credit report at least annually. 

    Each of the major credit reporting bureaus are required to provide you a free copy of your credit report each year. You can get a copy of yours by visiting http://annualcreditreport.com/

  6. File your taxes before a fraudster does. 

    The Equifax data breach contains enough information to allow someone to file a tax return in your name. It is recommended that you file your return as early as possible next year.

  7. Sign up for TrustedID Premier free credit monitoring.

    Equifax is offering free credit monitoring. U.S. consumers can get a year of free credit monitoring and other services. You can sign up on their dedicated website:  https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/. The site will give you a date when you can come back to enroll. Write down the date and come back to the site and click “Enroll” on that date. You have until November 21, 2017 to enroll. 

    Equifax has confirmed that signing up for credit file monitoring and identity theft protection that is being offered as part of this cybersecurity incident does not waive any rights you have to take legal action. The language in the Terms of Use on their website has been updated to reflect this. 

    Equifax also provides a tool on their website that allows you to check to see if your information was involved in the breach. It is recommended that you assume that it was leaked and that you should take appropriate action even if the tool indicates that your information was not involved. 

    Equifax also provides a Frequently Asked Questions resource on their site as well as regular updates and additional resources.

    Additional Information: