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

The Credit Bureaus are criminal enterprises that should be shut down immediately. I tried to obtain my "free" credit report, and two of the three would not let me get the report guaranteed to me by law due to "system issues." I then attempted to place a freeze on my credit to protect me and my family from the criminal breech perpetrated by the negligence of Equifax. Guess what - two of the three either wanted me to send documents and information in writing (delaying the freeze by days to weeks), or their systems were "unavailable." On top of that, there is no way to actually reach a human for assistance. That is absolutely criminal, considering how much sensitive data they have about Americans, and how exposed many of us are right now. We need to shut them down.

The "Potential Impact" tab that Equifax has on their site is a joke. Enter any made up last name and any 6 numbers and it will always say the same thing "Based on the information provided, we believe that your personal information was not impacted by this incident."

My credit has been frozen for years. Did these hackers also retrieve the information needed such as password, pin, user name that I have to use to lift the freeze temporarily?

Click on the “Potential Impact” tab. Where is the tab?

i already have transunions monitoring because IBM 'lost'files with my personal data. Equifax was the one that let a bill collector put a bad debt on my report when all he had in common with me was the the name 'smith', different ssn, different address, different first and middle names. just smith, and they ruined my credit for months. cyber security is important, but the federal government isn't doing much becuase admitting there is cyber security problems is apparently admitting russia helped trump win. i guess on the good side, i no longer have any money to worry about.

Equifax should not ask us to enter our personnel information to be monitored. They should monitor all accounts that are in question because it was there mistake not ours

It's time to switch what identifying information is used with so many people being compromised. I'm ready for an eye scan or something like that. Too many people being affected for years to come with social security numbers, etc.

This is a crap link. It's not accurate. They are not searching a database for your information and whether or not it was breached. I used a fake name and numbers (123456), it said the same thing as when I typed in my last name and digits. They are just trying to trap you into something.

We SHOULD be concerned that buying ID protection from the same credit agencies that can't secure our personal data is contradictory. All three have a vested interest in this issue because they will earned hundreds of millions of $$ from the monthly fees for these locking and freezing and monitoring services. Nearly all of what these packages offer we can acquire ourselves, but there's a huge convenience of having it done for us, which is what we are supposedly paying for, along with insurance for losses due to fraud. If you're looking for a personal ID security blanket, the only way to dodge the conflicts of interest shared by Equifax, Experian and Transunion and still get the convenience of a one-stop service provider is to go third party. It's no coincidence that Symantec (SYMC, owner of Lifelock) is up 13+% since 9/5.

I checked Equifax site & was told I may have been impacted. Tried to enroll in the Trusteer but never got email with link. I also tried putting a credit freeze only account but got a msg that they were unable to service request. Try agto the large volume of customers.
I called their Call Center and was told to wait an hr to get the email due
to large volume.

DOES ANYONE KNOW HOW I JOIN ANY OF THE CLASS ACTION LAWSUITS BEING FILED?? I'VE GOOGLED BUT IT DOESN'T EXACTLY SAY. AM I ONLY BOUND TO MY STATE FOR A LAWSUIT OR IS IT FEDERAL?

Equifax should be forced to close up shop. My husband and I have had credit freezes for at all 3 credit reporting agencies for approx 3 years. We were involved in the Target breach and a Blue Cross breach and now this Equifax breach pops up. The credit freezes get expensive if you live in a state that allows the "Big 3" to charge you for signing up for the credit freeze. You are charged individually (not by household) at each agency. Then you must pay individually
To remove the freezes each time you are attempting to finance something. Each agency assigns you a password that you must use each time you visit their website and attempt to access your information. Beware the consequences if you lose your password or it just simply will not work. Two years ago we were buying a small tractor. My husband's Equifax password would not work. He had to send a letter requesting a new password with copies of his drivers license, Social Security card, and 2 pieces of mail with his name and address on it (credit card bill, utility bill). We even included a copy of his passport. He received a letter denying his request stating the request was done incorrectly. We went through the process again and received a letter stating they had no record of us living at the address we provided-10 years at the address at that time and everything that was sent to them had the address on it. We had bought a couple of vehicles since moving there, so there is no way Equifax did not have information that we lived there unless they had not updated our files in over 10 years He never received a new password. I bought the tractor. Equifax is incompetent and should no longer be permitted to operate. If everyone would band together and make a commitment to call the Congressional switchboard once a day indefinitely to demand that Congress take action on the issue of these data breaches and impose stiff penalties it will work. If people will start calling and asking other people to call it will overwhelm the system . The number is toll free , so call and leave messages for your senator and ongressman/woman demanding the gov take action on this issue. Start this grassroots movement and watch it grow. This issue is important to all of us.

FYI to other people contemplating a credit freeze. Today after submitting the form on Transunion's website for $10 which worked; I tried placing one on Experian's site (even though $11.01 while WA's legal fee supposed to be $10 max). Experian would not process my freeze requet even though I just done my annual free report through them about aweek before Equifax disclosure.

Rejection said I have to mail a copy of my DL, utility bill, and SS# so of course will use certified which costs about $8 and means standing in line. Then have to hope mail not lost/stolen.

I tried calling; after 45 minute wait she transferred me; gave up after hour total. Then called state of WA's department regulating finance... waste of time too.

This can be fixed by immediately making it mandatory that anyone wanting to issue credit must receive written permission by the individual by writing to the address of record supplied by the credit gathering entity. Mail will be forwarded by post office if person has moved. Doing otherwise would be a cause for a law suit.

I've never contacted or used Equifax, nor any other agency. How could they possibly have my personal info?

Isn't it great that Equifax waits 2 months to disclose this breach while their CEO's are dumping their stock.

I have a concern. I checked, saw that my information may have been impacted and decided to enroll in TrustedID Premier. (I decided to do this because I'm confident that I'll still have recourse if I have problems with this particular breach.) I've read on this site and also on the Equifax pages that I would be given a date to return to enroll. My concern is that I was able to enroll immediately. I contacted Equifax and asked about this and they told me not to worry and that I am ahead of the curve. This whole thing makes me nervous and suspicious. I wonder if if this is another layer of the back. Does anyone have any thoughts or input?

You must see the deliberate intent of lapse data and the profits of credit monitoring at the prime rate of $19.95 per month one year after their breach. This is so convoluted. You FTC folks need to make them pay for an entof credit monitoring for all 145 million people they violated.

In order to freeze my credit report in California I need a police report ID - otherwise I need to pay. Does anyone know how to get the police (or FBI) report ID for that Equifax filed the data breach? Did they file a police report?

This Equifax recommendation isn't found on their "Equifax major breach" as reported from the FTC.
Here's Equifax's advisory,
"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."
Equifax show how to do this impossible task!

Do both husband and wife need to put these freezes on their accounts or can one do it and the other is protected since joint credit accounts? Don't want to go through the process twice if don't need to.

You and your wife each have individual credit reports. Each person's report shows their name, social security number, accounts, history of paying bills, whether they've been sued and other information. Your credit report includes much more information than your joint credit cards.

Your credit report is a history of all the loans and credit you've taken as an adult, and your wife's report shows her history.

If you put a credit freeze on your credit file, it will be harder for someone to open a new account in your name. It won't stop a thief from making charges to accounts you already have. If your wife puts a credit freeze on her credit file, it will make it harder for anyone to open new accounts in her name.

So, like everyone, I'm concerned about the data breach at Equifax. I've done freezes at Equifax and Experian. I finally got partially through the Trans Union maze until I read the "terms of service agreement ". I'm no attorney but it sounds like you forfeit the right to legal recourse if they screw up. We need better protection. Congress and FTC need to look after consumers better. This cronyism between Congress and these scumbags has to stop.

Just a thought, but if your data was compromised and you took the recommended steps wouldn't it be some what point less. For example if some one potentially has your SSN, address, drivers license number, and etc. They could easily remove any security measures or road blocks you put in their path, such as putting a security freeze on your credit.

There has been much talk recently about placing consumers' information on a chip and placing the chip under the consumers' skin. This so called "breach" sounds horrific but be alert to where "big business" is trying to lead us. The chip will not only have all your credit information but it can also be used as a tracking device. Only a few politicians have spoken out about this breach and very little next to none of the people who have serious money and credit. Seems fishy to me. Why aren't the million, billion and trillion dollar people crying out. Why aren't the banks crying out. Because if consumers' are victims of fraud, the banks will have to make amends to their customers. Up to 250,000. We are not hearing outcries by the right people.

Why aren't any of hollywood people crying foul? Are they not subject to this breach of security information? Everyone has social security numbers and most have credit card and bank account information. Something is not the way it appears to be.

use your banks to do the vigilance of tracking your accounts. They charge a smaller fee. Next freeze your accounts so all 3 can loose money. If half the population does this, well they will crumble, sell more of their stock and put out more BS to try and get us Sheeple back.

OK dont freeze your accounts a pay them the fee. Lets all put our heads together and figure a way to have them freeze our accounts for free. Let "our voice" be heard.

I was a victim of a data breech in 2004, again in 2008 by State Government, and again in 2016 By state government I had a 7 year freeze, now breeched again by Equifax. I do know that the Federal Government did charge and incarcerate one person on the first yet I received no reimbursement or offer for reimbursement. I received the bogus free monitoring from the State due to their failures, and now a private company does this and our government is not shutting them down immediately, and providing All those affected with reimbursement? I would have to be a part of a class action lawsuit that would do nothing but make attornies rich it would do nothing to prevent someone in a foreign nation from selling or using my information a few years from now as they do. I hope the FTC will help enact proper financial reimbursement and new SS and new sparkling credit reports for all of those harmed by this breech. I also hope that EVERYONE of the new "millenials" finally realize that the noone is secure of a data breech on the internet. Very very upset by this and the FTC not having proper protections in place to prevent this.

I tried to freeze my credit report through equifax and it didn't generate a pin. Now I am frozen without a PIN. UGH

I put in my last name and last 6 of my ssn and was told my information WAS compromised and then I decided to sign up for the protection and had to put in my information once again, only to be told my information WAS NOT compromised! You CANNOT TRUST THIS WEBSITE AND EQUIFAX to be honest with you!

Why should I have to PAY to freeze and unfreeze my credit?

I entered my real last name and real last 6 digits into their website, first on my mobile phone (Samsung S4, Marshmallow), then on my laptop (Lenovo, Windows 7). On my phone I received "...may have been impacted...", and on my laptop I received "was not impacted...". I checked twice on both devices to make sure there were no typos, assuming that all unrecognized combinations of name and SSN would yield "not impacted". I now have even less faith in this company than I did before I found out about the breach...

I dont understand.Is there a way to check if you were actually affected or not??

So, I'm supposed to go to Equifax and freeze my credit with them (and the other two agencies) and I have to give them my SSN? Why would I do this after they just got hacked?

Checking to see if social security number, name,or credit info has been stolen

Visit Equifax’s website, www.equifaxsecurity2017.com. This link takes you away from the FTC site. Equifaxsecurity2017.com is not controlled by the FTC.

  • To find out if your information was exposed click on the “Potential Impact” tab. 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 before when you do this. The site will tell you if you’ve been affected by this breach.

Check for breech

I knew my personal information had been compromised before I even checked on the Equifax site. The beginning of June someone had gotten hold of my bank account information and reproduced/forged checks and took almost all the money out of my checking account. And then in July I started seeing charges on one of my credit cards that I never authorized. I was able to get all my money back, but Equifax should have released information on this breach must sooner than they did so everyone could have taken the proper precautions. All of the time and frustration I went through trying to get my money back may have been prevented if I was alerted.

I do not see a “Potential Impact” tab anywhere on this page or site?

Equifax should have to pay for me to protect myself with a competitors monitoring. Why should I sign up for Equifax's compromised systems as a solution for their breach? One could argue that millions of customers who get 1 year free service may not cancel and the entire stunt is just to increase subscribers to their bad service.

Have I been hacked

Checking to see if my security was breachrd

Visit Equifax’s website, www.equifaxsecurity2017.com. This link takes you away from the FTC site. Equifaxsecurity2017.com is not controlled by the FTC.

  • To find out if your information was exposed click on the “Potential Impact” tab. 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 before when you do this. The site will tell you if you’ve been affected by this breach.

I want to know if I was hacked

So what is the FTC doing to ensure that this doesn't happen again with one of the other two credit reporting agencies that our banking industry relies on?

to everyone reaching for the pitchforks:
what do you think the result would be from a class action? the lawyers will get big fat checks, and hopefully the company will go out of business... all that while the people responsible for the decisions that led to this, carry on with their lives, probably becoming CEOs in some other company, still making trades based on what should be considered insider information. And your information will remain "on the internet" available for exploit FOREVER!

you may get $50 from a class action, the people that are fired from Equifax will get multi-million dollar retirement packages.

There will be no criminal charges brought up, and in the big scheme of things, nothing will change. Why do you think that is?
simply put: your elected officials work for those people and entities who contribute to their election campaign - they do not work for you.

"be the change you want to see in the world": hold your elected officials accountable for how this is handled and most importantly how it is FIXED! putting a "1 year free credit monitoring" band aid over this will fix NOTHING!

if you can go on a web page and freeze your credit by providing what is now "publicly available" information, how difficult do you think it will be to remove that credit freeze?

Why would you sign up for ID theft protection from the same company that was breached????????????

I canceled my Equifax account on July 6--probably too late, as it turns out. I'm not eager to sign back up. Why is it necessary to have monitoring by all three agencies?

Just to say you can't cancel these credit reporting agency's.

You don't join it and you don't quit it.

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