The Equifax Data Breach: What to Do

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If you have a credit report, there’s a good chance that you’re one of the 143 million American consumers whose sensitive personal information was exposed in a data breach at Equifax, one of the nation’s three major credit reporting agencies.

Here are the facts, according to Equifax. The breach lasted from mid-May through July. The hackers accessed people’s names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some instances, driver’s license numbers. They also stole credit card numbers for about 209,000 people and dispute documents with personal identifying information for about 182,000 people. And they grabbed personal information of people in the UK and Canada too.

There are steps to take to help protect your information from being misused. Visit Equifax’s website, www.equifaxsecurity2017.com. (This link takes you away from our site. Equifaxsecurity2017.com is not controlled by the FTC.)

  • Find out if your information was exposed. Click on the “Potential Impact” tab and enter your last name and the last six digits of your Social Security number. Your Social Security number is sensitive information, so make sure you’re on a secure computer and an encrypted network connection any time you enter it. The site will tell you if you’ve been affected by this breach.
  • Whether or not your information was exposed, U.S. consumers can get a year of free credit monitoring and other services. The site will give you a date when you can come back to enroll. Write down the date and come back to the site and click “Enroll” on that date. You have until January 31, 2018 to enroll.
  • You also can access frequently asked questions at the site.

Here are some other steps to take to help protect yourself after a data breach:

  • Check your credit reports from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — for free — by visiting annualcreditreport.com. Accounts or activity that you don’t recognize could indicate identity theft. Visit IdentityTheft.gov to find out what to do.
  • Consider placing a credit freeze on your files. A credit freeze makes it harder for someone to open a new account in your name. Keep in mind that a credit freeze won’t prevent a thief from making charges to your existing accounts.
  • Monitor your existing credit card and bank accounts closely for charges you don’t recognize.
  • If you decide against a credit freeze, consider placing a fraud alert on your files. A fraud alert warns creditors that you may be an identity theft victim and that they should verify that anyone seeking credit in your name really is you.
  • File your taxes early — as soon as you have the tax information you need, before a scammer can. Tax identity theft happens when someone uses your Social Security number to get a tax refund or a job. Respond right away to letters from the IRS.

Visit Identitytheft.gov/databreach to learn more about protecting yourself after a data breach.

Note: This post was updated on October 5, 2017 to reflect that Equifax extended the enrollment period for free credit monitoring from November 21, 2017 to January 31, 2018.

 

 

Comments

Nothing happens when I press Continue on the Equifax Getting Started web page.

when you entered your name and partial ss# it gave you a date. hat's the date for you to enroll

took me awhile to figure it out

It also binds you to arbitration, making you give up your right to sue them. They hide it in their terms and conditions.

This language was retracted after pressure from Gov't officials. You no longer give up your right to sue if you sign up for the free monitoring service. You can find confirmation on the abc news site.

Do you have a direct link for this bit of news?

So, I just entered "Test" and 123456 and got the shocking news that "based on the information I provided, Equifax believes my data may have been compromised...

The way I've heard it: If you have any kind of credit in the United States (car loan, mortgage, a credit card, applied for a credit card, etc.), you have the potential to be affected by this. Equifax monitors ALL credit holders and if you are one of those people - your information could have been compromised.

Amazing, I tried and got the same result, BUT, HERE's EVEN BETTER! (OR PROVING THEIR SITE IS TOTALLY BOGUS!!), I entered "Testdoe" (as in Ms. Jane Doe), and "123456", and I GOT THIS: "we believe that your personal information was not impacted by this incident." NOTICE THE "NOT IMPACTED". This is LUDICROUS!!! They really should be held accountable!

Seems like JaneDoe if you used a fictitious name to impute information, you would receive a message "NOT IMPACTED ".

Then why did msw above do the same thing and get "was impacted"? This has been reported on. Many have done the same, and even used their real info twice and gotten conflicting responses.

Yeah, it did its job....

I think the credit reporting agencies should have consequences for their actions, since we have no choice in them having our information. If they let it get compromised, they should have to pay the price.
Then our government should revamp the program.

I entered my info and the site indicated I was not likely affected by the breach, then it asked me to enter info, the site froze, I returned, reentering all information, and it returned a message that indicated I may have been affected. So which is it guys? This info would say the site appears to just randomly draw a NO or MAYBE!!!

It has given me conflicting information and a new enrollment date each time I try to complete the enrollment.

After entering my ID to check on whether my personal information was POTENTIALLY IMPACTED the response I received was, "Your personal information was NOT impacted by this incident." Then when I clicked the button to ENROLL in the Trusted ID Premier, the message changed to "Your personal information WAS IMPACTED by this incident." I guess their covering all their bases!!!!

Better yet get one of those novelty "8 Balls" that you turn upside down after asking a question. It will give you better answers.

Assume the worst, that your information WAS stolen. Take action now. freeze credit w/all 3 agencies, change pw & logins to all existing accts, and enroll in an outside credit monitoring service. Watch accts weekly.

I attempted to call the numbers listed for the 3 credit agencies to freeze my reports. In all 3 instances, I was unable to complete the actions. I answered all questions appropriately. I am very frustrated!

i did the same last week and got one agency "frozen" (equifax), then had much trouble with transition and gave up in frustration. Got back on it and froze the other 2 agencies just now, only to find out there's a new agency, Innovis!! It is beyond me why my credit is being used for profit by yet another entity!

I believe Equifax bought out the other two several years ago, although they remain "somewhat" separate. Whoopee!

Stop all of the craziness. Did ya`ll ever think that by providing all of the information that you did, that you could have been "Caught up in a Phishing scam"?

No phishing scam here - don't forget you followed a link from this site.

Smells like a Phishing expediction :)

Yes. Equifax or somebody in Equifax (those that sold their stock before making this breach public) are in on this. Because when you put your information in, they prompt you to sign up for their protection. Why in the world would I want to sign up for their protection when this company is obviously shady, at the very least, or criminal. Everyone should make sure their state's attorney general's are investigating the company and its executives on the selling of their billions in stock.

Thank you. I totally agree with you. Why provide a broken site any MORE in formation???

Now this is making sense.

I totally agree! Who do you trust?

My thinking is why would I re-enter all my info especially SSN again ?
I'm going to moniter my accounts on a daily basis, maybe 2x a day. Check all my security options to be sure everything is on point. This whole thing has a bad aroma.

They are already monitoring your stuff, the only thing that changes when you sign up is that you are able to pull it directly from Equifax and you are able to tell them to freeze your account. not to mention the identity theft protection.

Freeze my accounts

Yea, and backed by the government, the ones telling you all this is safe. Smh. Just go back to cash, send money orders to pay bills, get off the grid, I did.

How'd you do that?

Same here. I always use cash. Very little goes on my credit card.

You say you use cash, very little on your cards, which means your info is already out there, you applied for credit at some point. Think about it. The only safe person is someone who nevered applied for credit, who truly lives off the grid.

Any American with a social security number is a potential target, whether or not you've got open credit. They'll get your number and steal your identity thereby, and/or, profit from the sell of your number.

Listening to C-Span hearings on the breach today it sure sounds as if this is coming under the direction of a foreign country. If you think just because you don't have a loan out you aren't vulnerable don't believe it. You have car insurance, they checked your credit, you have a cellphone they checked your credit. SSN are rapidly becoming ubiquitous. It will be interesting and scary to see how this information will be used by these foreign agents in the future

I totally agree that enrolling may be a way to sell you something later or another tactic, but did you ever think your info can be used to create a new identity of you. It won't touch you current accounts, but may open all new one's that you will find out way too late? Just implement all 3 credit freezes is probably the safest action in my opinion.

Sounds Like A Crime Has Been Committed By The 3 Executives. Stock has fallen 50 bucks a share as of today.

Trading on insider information is a "federal" offense and is or should be prosecuted by the Securities & Exchange Comission SEC.

My thoughts exactly! I noticed it's still Equifax. Why would I give them even more information to compromise?? I'll take my chances. I have other monitoring services.

I have my own identity theft protection and am not interested in Equifax identity theft protection for a year. I want to place a credit freeze with transunion but they want written confirmation that my social was compromised and equifax doesn't seem to want to provide this written proof! Any suggestions?

If you get a notice that your information was exposed in a data breach, you may be at greater risk of identity theft. But that doesn't mean you are an identity theft victim. Here are tips about dealing with a breach.

An ID theft victim is someone who knows their information has been misused, for example to get a new credit card, or a job or file a tax return. If someone used your information to open new accounts or make purchases, go to IdentityTheft.gov.

My understanding is that when there is a breach, that is an act of breaking into, and when there is unauthorized taking of identification information, that is identity theft.

When there is unauthorized use of identity information, isn't that fraud?

Identity theft happens when someone misuses your identifying information - for example to get a new credit card, or a job or file a tax return. 

So if identity information was taken in the Equifax breach but not used, the takers could not be charged for identity theft?

What could they be charged with?

A break in or hack is criminal.

Good test. I like the way you think!

It could be that the "123456/test" gave 'might be' because Equifax could not reconcile the number and name. Or it could be the site was designed to get as many as possible to sign up for their (cannot sue-->subsequently rescinded) product. But a friend of mine entered her info and it told her that her credit information was not compromised, which would suggest that maybe it is trying to validate the identities correctly.

Classic, I figured that! You can NEVER trust a big company! It's almost like they gain something from having you sign up for the service. I AM NOT INTERESTED IN THE "FREE" service!!!!!!!!!!!!! They just need to be a better custodian of everyone's personal information!!!!

Why do they have access to my personal information anyway? Who gives them the right to dig into my financial history? I didn't even know these agencies existed!

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