September 12, 2017
The Equifax “cybersecurity incident” potentially exposed 143 million Americans to additional risk of
fraud. The Federal Trade Commission provided the following basic facts for the breach:
- The breach lasted from mid-May through mid-July
- Hackers accessed: Social Security Numbers, birth dates, addresses, and some driver’s
- Credit Card Information for 209,000 people
- Credit dispute documents with personal identifying information for 189,000 people
- Citizens of the UK and Canada were affected as well
You can take the following steps to help protect your personal information:
Check online to see if your information was compromised
- Follow this link to check and see if your information was compromised.
- You will need to enter your last name and last 6 digits of your Social Security number
- Make sure you are on a secure computer. Do not access this information from a
- Make sure you on an encrypted network that is password protected. As a best practice
never enter or send personal information over a public WIFI network.
Check Bank Statements and Credit Card Statements
You should check your bank statements and credit-card statements for any unauthorized activity.
Consider signing up for email and text alerts on your accounts for any activity that takes place.
Check Credit Reports
You can check your credit reports with Equifax and also with the other major companies, Experian and
TransUnion. The reports are available free annually via annualcreditreport.com. You may not detect any
unauthorized activity yet, but you can be on the lookout for any accounts that you don’t recognize.
Take the Credit Monitoring Service Offered by Equifax
You can sign up for a credit file monitoring and identity protection service from Equifax by going to
www.equifaxsecurity2017.com. The offering, called TrustedID Premier, includes credit 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. The service is free to U.S. consumers for one year, regardless of whether or not your
information was compromised. When you enter in the information to the site above, you will be given
the date you are eligible to enroll in the service.
A few things to note about this service. First, you will not be required to provide your credit card
information and therefore will not be automatically charged after one year of use. Second, originally the
media reported that by signing up for this service users were waving their right to legal action. Equifax
released the following statement on their website on September 11, 2017:
“5) Adjusted the TrustedID Premier and Clarified Equifax.com
We’ve added an FAQ to our website to confirm that enrolling in the free credit file monitoring and
identity theft protection that we are offering as part of this cybersecurity incident does not waive any
Premier product being offered to consumers as a result of the cybersecurity incident.”
Consider Signing Up for an Alternative Credit Monitoring Service
You can also explore alternative credit monitoring services LifeLock, Identity Guard and myFICO.
Some of these services offer trial subscriptions.
Consider a Security/Credit Freeze
A credit or security freeze prevents new lines of credit from being issued. You can follow the
instructions on the following websites to place a Security Freeze for Equifax, Experion and TransUnion.
Doing so will mean you won’t be able to open new credit cards, take out a new mortgage or obtain a
new car loan. Unfreezing the credit freeze to obtain new lines of credit may take some time. You will
still be able to use currently open lines of credit during the time your credit is frozen.
File 2017 Taxes Early
Tax identity theft happens when someone uses your Social Security number to get a tax refund or secure
new employment. In the past decade, the IRS has created a dedicated identity theft unit to deal with this
issue. The Equifax breach could increase the number of fraudulent filings. By filing early you decrease
the risk of someone else illegally using your information to file. As a reminder the IRS will only
communicate with you through US Mail - if you receive a phone call or email from someone claiming
to be the IRS, it is a scam.
Visit the Identity Theft Resource Center
If you believe that you may have been the victim of identity theft, you can learn more about how to
protect yourself at www.idtheftcenter.org. You can also call the center’s toll-free number (888-400-
5530) for advice on how to resolve identify-theft issues.
Equifax is offering a dedicated call center for consumers who have additional questions: 1-866-447-
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