Equifax, one of the nation’s largest credit reporting agencies, issued a statement about a cybersecurity breach that occurred earlier this summer. The incident MAY impact half of U.S. consumers—Equifax estimates as many as 143 million accounts were compromised.
- Sign up for Equifax’s credit monitoring service (which is available whether or not your personal information was compromised in this breach).
- Visit the Equifax website to determine if your information was compromised: https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/potential-impact/
- Be even more vigilant than ever about phishing scams. Know that cybercriminals may have access to your name, Social Security number, addresses, birth date, driver’s license number and other personal identifying information (PII). Never trust email links, and be cautious about incoming phone calls and other communications.
- Follow ID security best practices to avoid ID theft. This checklist is available at: https://www.usa.gov/identity-theft
- Secure your Social Security number (SSN). Don’t carry your Social Security card in your wallet or write your number on your checks. Only give out your SSN when absolutely necessary.
- Don’t respond to unsolicited requests for personal information (such as your name, birthdate, SSN or bank account number) by phone, mail or online.
- Contact the three credit reporting agencies to request a freeze of your credit reports.
- Collect mail promptly. Place a hold on your mail when you are away from home for several days.
- Pay attention to your billing cycles. If bills or financial statements are late, contact the sender.
- Enable the security features on mobile devices, especially if you have contacts, banking websites and applications saved.
- Review your credit card and bank account statements. Promptly compare receipts with account statements. Watch for unauthorized transactions.
- Shred receipts, credit offers, account statements and expired credit cards to prevent “dumpster divers” from getting your personal information.
- Store personal information in a safe place at home and at work.
- Create complex passwords that identity thieves cannot guess easily. Change your passwords if a company that you do business with has a breach of its databases.
- Review your credit report once a year to be certain it doesn’t include accounts you have not opened. You can order it for free from http://www.annualcreditreport.com/
More information from Equifax:
- The information accessed primarily includes names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some instances, driver’s license numbers. In addition, credit card numbers for approximately 209,000 U.S. consumers, and certain dispute documents with personal identifying information for approximately 182,000 U.S. consumers, were accessed.
- Equifax discovered the unauthorized access on July 29 of this year and acted immediately to stop the intrusion. The company promptly engaged a leading, independent cybersecurity firm that has been conducting a comprehensive forensic review to determine the scope of the intrusion, including the specific data impacted. Equifax also reported the criminal access to law enforcement and continues to work with authorities. While the company’s investigation is substantially complete, it remains ongoing and is expected to be completed in the coming weeks.
- Equifax has established a dedicated website at equifaxsecurity2017.com to help consumers determine if their information has been potentially impacted and to sign up for credit file monitoring and identity theft protection. The offering, called TrustedID Premier, includes monitoring of Equifax, Experian and TransUnion credit reports; copies of Equifax credit reports; the ability to lock and unlock Equifax credit reports; identity theft insurance; and internet scanning for Social Security numbers – all complimentary to U.S. consumers for one year. The website also provides additional information on steps consumers can take to protect their personal information. Equifax recommends that consumers with additional questions visit their website or contact a dedicated call center at 866-447-7559, which the company set up to assist consumers. The call center is open every day (including weekends) from 7:00 a.m. – 1:00 a.m. Eastern time. In addition to the website, Equifax will send direct mail notices to consumers whose credit card numbers or dispute documents with personal identifying information were impacted. Equifax also is in the process of contacting state and federal regulators and has sent written notifications to all U.S. attorneys general, which includes Equifax contact information for regulator inquiries.
Read the full Equifax statement here: https://investor.equifax.com/news-and-events/news/2017/09-07-2017-213000628