On September 7th Equifax, a credit reporting agency, announced that a data breach compromised the personal information of 143 million Americans. Hackers were able to steal the following information from the agency:
- Names, birth dates, Social Security numbers, addresses, and/or driver's license numbers
- Credit card numbers for 209,000 people
- Credit dispute records for 182,000 people
If you wish to take action to protect yourself, the following options are available to you:
- Freeze your credit reports
- Update your passwords
- Utilize dual authentication if available (This includes text message or email confirmation upon login in addition to passwords)
- Regularly monitor your accounts for irregularities
How do you find out if your information was included in the breach? Equifax will send a letter only to the people whose credit card numbers and credit dispute records have been compromised. If you would like to check whether your information has been affected, visit equifaxsecurity2017.com. Equifax will not call you unless they are returning a call you made. If you receive a call from Equifax asking for information, it is likely a phishing scam.
The FTC has also released a guide to help consumers navigate the breach and its potential effects.
In the wake of the breach, it is important to monitor your credit report on a regular basis. You are entitled to one free credit report each year from each of the credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. You can pull a report at annualcreditreport.com.
Equifax is offering one free year of its TrustedID credit monitoring program for anyone who enrolls by November 21, 2017. You may register for the free service even if you have not been affected by the breach.
If you have further questions about the Equifax breach and how you can protect yourself, please contact us.