The Equifax Data Breach is a huge issue! We immediately put out a special newsletter to our past clients alerting them to the issue. We checked ourselves on the Equifax site and it did indicate that our information was breached.
Equifax (one of the big 3 credit reporting credit bureaus) had a major data breach in May and July. They just announced it to the public in early September.
More than 143 million person’s records were exposed to include social security numbers, birth dates, addresses, driver’s license numbers, credit card numbers, and other information.
This information makes it easy for criminals to commit identity theft.
Some of the things a criminal can do is:
1. Stealing your tax return and attempting to steal your refund
2. Use your information to get health care, which may result in medical collections and their information can be mixed with yours.
3. Giving your information to the police when they get arrested and creating a criminal record for you and might get you put in jail or prevent you from getting a job.
4. Filing bankruptcy in your name or transferring deeds of property you own.
So What Can You Do?
You can check out the site http://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com website – enter your last name and last 6 of your social to see if you might have been impacted, or
Call them at 866-447-7559
Equifax is offering free credit monitoring for up to a year. However, with this data breach, your risk may be for many many years into the future.
Other services providing credit monitoring include http://www.identifyforce.com, color: #2baadf;" href="http://www.protectmyid.com/">http://www.protectmyid.com, and Lifelock.
There has been some debate over 'Should you freeze your credit'? This takes you contacting each of the three credit bureaus and paying a small fee to each. This would prevent any new accounts being opened up and may prevent headaches down stream if someone does open up new credit. The problem is that if you need someone to look at your credit, like a new or existing creditor, you must re-contact each credit bureau and pay another fee to lift the freeze then pay another fee to reinstate the freeze.
To freeze your credit:
Equifax: 1-800-349-9960 or visit freeze.equifax.com
Experian: 1-888-397-3742 or visit www.experian.com/freeze
Transunion: 1-888-909-8872 or visit freeze.transunion.com