Are you a victim of the Equifax data breach? Probably!!!
Equifax, the credit reporting agency announced today that the personal credit information of 143 million United States consumers has been released in a massive data breach. This constitutes 57% of the entire adult population. So even though you may not have heard of Equifax, the odds are that you are now vulnerable to identity theft. If you have ever taken out a loan or credit card or bought anything on credit, your information was turned over to this credit reporting agency which has now lost it to hackers.
Since this is the exact information that is used to check for identity theft, your financial identity is now seriously at-risk unless you take immediate action:
1) Go to www.equifaxsecurity2017.com and click on the tab that says "Check Potential Impact." They will ask you for your name and last 6 digits of your social security number. Normally you would not give out your SS#, but in this case you should to find out if you are a victim.
2) If the website says you are not impacted be this breach, you can breathe easier, but you may still want to review CWAG's information on Detecting and Reporting Identity Theft.
3) If you are a victim you will get the following message:
Based on the information provided, we believe that your personal information may have been impacted by this incident.
Click the button below to continue your enrollment in the TrustedID Premier.
For more information visit the FAQ page.
4) DO NOT sign up for the “free” credit monitoring until you review all your options (annual fee after first year; arbitration clause).
5) You should next put a fraud alert on your credit reports as follows: (free)
Equifax: Online or by calling 1-888-766-0008
Experian: Online or by calling 1-888-397-3742
TransUnion: Online or by calling 1-800-680-7289
6) And seriously consider placing a Security Freeze on your credit to prevent new loans and credit cards. This is a rather extreme step but since you know that hackers have all the information they need to further victimize your finances, it might be wise to spend $10 each to freeze all 3 credit reports ($30 total). This will prevent anyone from taking credit in your name until it is lifted. There are no fees for any of the agencies.
Experian Equifax TransUnion
PO Box 9554 PO Box 105788 PO Box 2000
Allen, TX 75013 Atlanta, GA 30348 Chester, PA 19016
1-888-397-3742 1-800-349-9960 1-888-909-8872
www.experian.com/freeze www.freeze.equifax.com https://freeze.transunion.com
7) Change all passwords and PINs on existing accounts (free).
8) Check your credit reports through AnnualCreditReport.com (free).
9) Watch for the class action lawsuits that you will be eligible to join.