Equifax Security Breach
On September 7, 2017 Equifax announced that around 145 million U.S. had been exposed to a potential risk of identity theft due to a cyber security breach on Equifax database.
According to their press release, “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.” – They noticed the unauthorized access on July 29, 2017 and reported it to law enforcement.
What Should You Do?
You are your greatest defender! If you have a credit report, there’s a relatively high chance that your data may have been compromised. If you haven’t already done something to protect your credit yet here are some ideas you should consider:
- Closely monitor your your bank accounts & monitor your credit cards for fraudulent activity
- Check your credit report for fraudulent activity & consider using a credit monitoring service
- Consider a placing a credit freeze on your files
- If you notice unauthorized activity place a fraud alert on your files
- File 2017 taxes promptly before a scammer can attempt to do so
What if you’re getting a home loan?
If you’re in the process of buying a home or re-financing your property – Closely monitor your bank & credit accounts! Placing a fraud alert on your file will not prevent you from closing on your loan, but it may delay your slow the process as flagged files must undergo a manual review process. Security alerts on your file will prevent you from getting other types of credit, like retail store credit which usually provide instant approvals.
Credit Monitoring Services
Equifax is offering a free credit monitoring service if you’re comfortable having them handling your personal information. A few credible alternative credit monitoring services you might consider: LifeLock, IdentityForce, Credit Sesame, ID Shield
These credit monitoring sevices will cost you between $9-$30 a month.
Whatever you do, remember that You are your best defender! Take proactive steps to monitor and protect your personal data.
In case you missed it:
Official Statement by Rick Smith – Chairman & CEO of Equifax