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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

First, you let yourself get hacked, then the top brass does some insider trading and dumps there stock. And now they want six of my numbers? And a credit card!! Wow

It's sad to see what has become of society at the hands of cyber-thiefs as well as unethical companies...all for their profit. As others have stated, do not accept Equifax's offer; after all, Equifax is the breach. Why would you want a "free" year of credit monitoring from the company who caused this lifelong crisis in the first place? No! Instead do as others have stated...keep a vigilant watch on all your personal, professional & legal accounts. This won't be the first of many breaches yet to come due to unprepared companies not securing their customers accounts. A suggestion...try to keep calm in the face of this storm. Anger within won't do your health much good...think of yourself by assessing this problem, remaining calm and then carry out a reasonable plan by keeping vigilant...it's your life, do right by yourself, family & future. It's another hurdle we must face, but we can & must overcome. Yes, I speak as one whose information was comprised, too. Although I'm sad & somewhat scared because my information is comprised for life...I will NOT let this rule my life...I'll remain vigilant & go forward, be the victor, not a helpless & angry victim. So, I encourage all to be winners, too...don't let this eat away at your soul, your very life; instead, let us all learn from this and go forward as victors. Best to everyone!

DO NOT SIGN UP FOR THEIR FREE SERVICE TO MONITOR YOUR ACCOUNT. YOU WILL BE WAVING YOUR RIGHTS TO SUE. READ THE FINE PRINT OF THE AGREEMENT CLAUSE!!!!

How does one find out what personal info was breached? SSN and/or what else? FTC site talks about what to do for various data points breached based on what was breached! Can FTC help?

why the hell do I have to jump thru hoops and pay for credit freezes etc when it's Equifax that should be taking care of all this and paying the fees.

Insider Trading? 1. Sale of securities by top executives of Equifax? Is S.E.C. involved yet? 2. Compulsory arbitration clauses and Congress supporting or removing?

DON'T sign up with Equifax for free monitoring!!!! Any class action suit will exclude you if you do--Equifax fine print.

Given the number of people whose information was stolen, why should we have to waste our time trying to get through to the credit reporting companies to request fraud alerts? Why don't they just assume that EVERYONE was hacked and put fraud alerts on ALL accounts?

Also, why should I trust Equifax's in-house "security"? They're the ones who mismanaged my credit information to begin with - and now they want me to give them a second chance AND give up my right to sue them! They should be fined for allowing this to happen. You had ONE JOB, Equifax...!

I just checked and my five year old's data was compromised. Any tips on protecting a child from identity theft?

And now what..? Please sign me up for the class action ...

The advice on this site that you "there are steps to protect your information from being misused" by contacting Equifax website. Go online to research how Equifax's website is set up to have consumers give up their legal right to sue Equifax. There are plenty of articles online documenting how Equifax dupes those who are not wary. This government website should remove this link to Equinox.

I have been trying for two days to get info from Equifax whether my data was breached. Can't get past the damn "I am not a robot" on the login. What a bunch of crap.

Hi,
I just spent 20 minutes trying to get through on the phone
line that I read on Equifax website that states it was set up
to help with the volume of calls due to the data breach. It says it is accommodating even on weekends beginning 7 a.m.

I called and the phone rang 30 times? maybe more. then it disconnected. I have yet to reach them since the news broke

With all the information coming out about the hack, the time it took to notify the people effected, the stock sellout, the lack of ethics concerning the site to find out if you were one of their victims, etc... we ALL need to contact a class action attorney as well as the federal government. Personally, I'm sick of being an over taxed and regulated victim. Social security was NOT intended to be used as a form of identification but look where we are now!

Why trust the people that caused the problem to "protect" our info now? I was born at night but not last night!

FTC should make the executives put the money they made selling their stocks back into the company. This should be used for our benefit. How unethical/illegal was it to sell their stocks in the first place.

The whole thing seems like a setup to me. Equifax
gets richer. We get poorer. The government is useless as usual. They should be taking over the situation not allowing the company letting the problem occur to be the solution. Went to their site and it wouldn't work!!!!

This is why we need stronger consumer protection laws, something that at least republicans are dead-set against.

Just wait and let us see what the "do nothing " Congressional Hearing will impose before signing up at Equifax...

Class action lawsuit for reimbursement of fees to protect ourselves. We shouldn't have to ask for protection. They should come forward and offer this from people who have receipts showing you paid from the other services. Look for it son folks.

Equifax and Transunion waived the charge for the credit freeze but Experian did charge me the normal fee for my state. They should have waived it as well.

1. Where is the punishment for individuals who betrayed public trust? Who in Equifax is responsible for this failure? Who in the US Govt is holding them accountable?
2. Telling us months late is a crime unto itself. The insiders covered their tracks before telling the public.
3. This is also a pretense for spying on our every transaction with their "service". No thanks.

How about, where is the class action lawsuit that I want to become part of?

It's time that fingerprints or retina images be required to open up any new financial account. The technology already exists. Enough relying on appropriate use of the SS# and DOB.

#EQUIFAX SHOULD BE BANNED FROM DOING BUSINESS FOR 7 YEARS.

Honestly, I don't understand how this kind of monopoly in the #CRA business is legal, allowed, and even tolerated and encouraged by the #FTC. #SHAME on all of you for failing us sooo badly: OPM was the worst, UCLA, ANTHEM, SONY, EQUIFAX. Our information is not safe - the FTC and the entire government is at fault. You will get hacked. No really you will get hacked. What are you doing about it? Big phat nothin'

I smell b.s. My question is this. .. stupidly I put in my last 6 and last name and then I hit the "enroll" icon. After that it prompted me with a date and url. Does that mean I'm already on that list that can not be apart of a lawsuit? Or is it when my date comes around if I follow thru then I won't be apart of such a group? Please clarify.

Tried to put a credit freeze on all three accounts, but Experian & TransUnion want to charge me to add the extra security to protect my information - information I never had a say in them obtaining. This is disgusting - and if it doesn't qualify as an unfair business practice that is a block to preventing fraudulent use of our information, then don't what is.

So basically, every American with a line of credit has their name, SSN, birth date, mother's maiden name, and bank account information stolen and the solution is a free year of monitoring from the company that failed to secure my data? Even if I trusted their service, what are we going to do after a year? Is the government going to issue new SSNs? Should I change my name and birthday?

Tryed the link (http://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/)to see what to do but firefox says it's not secure. Figures.

Transunion is no better in my opinion. I put a freeze on my credit through their website and then I get an email saying I'm signed up for their monitoring service for $19.95 a month subscription... I never signed up for anything, nor saw any fine print saying I did. I live in NJ so the freeze was free for me, no need to give them even a credit card number for them to charge a subscription to. So now I have to figure out how to cancel this so it doesn't ruin my good credit.

More than 100 bucks per user, this would give 10 billion reasons to credit agencies, not store has much data and to increase security.

Equifax=Monopoly -> Deregulate this industry asap

Here is the FTC's guidance:

Go to the same morons that we're unable to protect your sensitive data. The'll be sure to take good care of you.

Shame on the FTC!

Dear FTC,
Please begin actions to shut down Equifax and criminal prosecutions of their IT staff, operations managers, and C-level executives. Yes, there was some insider trading but the real problem is that this company has collected personal data on every US consumer, held it ransom against our will, and carelessly let it fall into the hands of either criminals or foreign terrorists. Equifax's actions in the face of the crisis--trying to get us to waive our rights and handing out a paltry one-year credit monitoring service--only go to show how callous and spiteful they are about their "right" to take our information and lose it. Those responsible for their failure against America to be investigated and jailed and the company needs to be shut down. They are not above regulation. The free market will create a third competitor in this field if one is truly needed. Please do your job and contain this situation to whatever degree is still possible, and punish those responsible here, lest it happen again. Equifax is now complicit in what is going to be millions of cases of credit fraud. Credit monitoring itself already amounts to unconstitutional surveillance against American consumers (see the Fourth Amendment in the Bill of Rights), but this gross negligence amounts to domestic terrorism if not outright treason on the part of Equifax and its employees.

For those of you complaining about the wait time for sign up, just keep in mind that they have potentially MILLIONS of people that will be doing this. Computers can only handle so much information at once. By assigning days to sign in, they are probably attempting to prevent a complete crash of the site by everyone trying to do it at once.

I want a way to force Equifax to remove every bit of my data from active, back up and archived files, including but not limitrd to tapes, electronic media and paper, and to never ever enter or track my information again. Why should they have any right to this private information? It's not like they are the only game in town!

FTC, you idiots are useless. Why do we have departments that can do nothing for us? I plan on suing both the FTC and Equifax.

Equifax has lost the privilege to store any personal information. Please close the business down for good.

The Equifax web site looks more like a way to drum up business for the credit checking service than to let you know if you are affected. What good is a year of checking my accounts going to do if the gave up my personal information? Somebody needs to hold their feet to the fire.

If you subscribe to their monitoring, be aware of the fine print. You also agree to arbitration and cannot sue them if the breach caused you any losses...

The FTC is finally recommending freezes? It's about time. If you're responding to questions, I'd like to know how to contact Equifax to find out if the freeze PINS were compromised. I'm guessing they're not going to do us the favor of changing them themselves.

Bought a house in 99, still own it. Equifax insisting I lived at a different address in a different town, based on their contracted investigation? Took over a year and many letters, complaining, threats to remove from my report. Other two agencies didn't have this information in their report. Equifax should be investigated and fined for credit abuse.

On 9/8/17 I checked to see if I my account was included in on the breach and yes it was, and I was told to call back on 9/11/17 to complete the process of credit monitoring etc. I am unable to get thru online, and/or by calling two phone numbers-they are all unavailable. What is going on this is ridiculous.

This Trustedid thing that you are to enroll in, is it really free? I did a credit freeze on Experian and thought that what I clicked was for that but instead they enrolled me in their security thing. I was never told I had only a few days to cancel. I was charged for the first month so when I called about it I found out what it was. I asked for a refund they wouldn't give it to me. I am a bit wary of doing so with Equifax. Did NOT continue with enrollment with them.

Equifax should provide 5 years of Lifelock service for free to all of the people that had information stolen from their data banks. We consumers need protection for their failures.

The FTC should enjoin Equinox (and all bureaus as a general rule) to cover up the fees ($5 - $10 per credit bureau, varying by state) that victim consumers will be charged to place / lift a freeze on their accounts, not the other way around!

I agree

I totally agree! Equifax should pay to have our credit frozen not citizens! They made the mistake, hid it, and are doing virtually nothing to solve the problem. This cyber hack could take the country down financially!

Good grief! I just called the automated number and it clicked OFF as soon as I gave my SS#!!! 1-800-349-9960 is the number given by FTC, equifax, etc. Has their phone system been hacked now?

in all the comments from consumers and FTC,i have yet to see a remedy for this breach.i suggest maybe going to SOCIAL SECURITY,have your number re-issued with a new ssn #,contact your bank or financial institution and have all your credit cards re-called/canceled and new cards to replace them.the info is out there and will remain for life...those numbers can and will be used when you least expect it,many, including myself ,have spent many years creating and repairing our credit,to have it all exposed by this mistake is a disaster for all,so why has no one offered any of these ideas to alter the future which i am sure can and will bring many people down? one free year of monitoring will not stop what has happened. do we all need lawyers to protect us? what say you FTC??? good luck to all of us.

Cannot find how to sign up for protection free

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