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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

i would not give anyone the last 6 digits of my SSN. That only leaves 3 for a program to try all combinations. I would not trust this site.

What no one is talking about is the fact that you can't get to Experian or any of the other two credit reporting agencies to GET your credit report m- they are all either down or not accessible or tell you they are experiencing technical difficulties. I wonder what they are covering up.

Have not yet received an enrollment form. Was scheduled for 9/11/2017.

I checked to see if mine, my wife's and my daughters info was taken. It reports that it was. I attempted to enroll in the protection plan at Equifax. It seems that their servers are locked up due to high volume. The phone number is no good either. I attempted to use their link for a credit report from annualcreditreport.com. same thing. I suspect high traffic on their servers caused the servers to not respond. At this point I feel like I can't do anything to protect myself. I think it is time for more gov regulation of this credit reporting industry that includes liability if they let the crooks in the back door. They should also be required to report the incident when it happens instead of spending time with their attorneys to find out how to reduce liability.

Oh you can long a heart felt longing for the days of paper everything. But those days are over. If you are a victim of identity theft you need to do everything you can to protect yourself moving forward. This is our new reality. IRS 1-800-908-4490 would be one number you need to contact. Fill out paper work and realize that you will have an additional ID pin# number issued you each year before you can file your return electronically. Each year a new ID Pin will be assigned for several years. Keep the info in a safe place you will need it at tax time.

Tell me why would I give them my SS number, obviously they can't be trust to keep things safe.. is there any other way?

I read that Equifax knew about the security breach long before it told the public. Now, I am asking myself, even if their website says that my info is not hacked, can I trust what Equifax says?????

I cannot get a response to freeze in Experian

Just phoned their customer service representative and she said since I joined their "free" Trusted ID protection I now by doing so waived my rights to join any lawsuit. It's only free for one year which is inadequate since the stolen data can be used years from now.

When going through the Potential Impact form, you can literally type in any 6 digit number and last name and it tells you that you are at risk.

Why are Equifax and Experian's websites saying they can't freeze my credit and saying I have to mail documents into them?? However, Transunion let me freeze credit using their website. Is this a glitch? Given the Equifax data breach, I should be able to freeze my credit immediately but this is very concerning.

Entered my last name and last six of my SSN. Said I was impacted and I clicked on Enroll button which brought up a form for me to sign up with something called TrustID or something close to that which was referred to as a 'product'. No date, no offer of free credit monitoring. So what is this?

TrustedID Premier is the name of the 'product' I was offered. Did not fill out the form so do not know if it was free. Just did not get what I was expecting.

I was able to put a fraud alert on Experian and their site said they would contact the other 2 credit reporting agencies. I signed up for the Equifax monitoring but have not received an email confirming it. Why can't we be issued new social security numbers? Medicare is replacing our SS numbers with a better system (new cards to be issued). And will agencies stop asking for our SS #s!

If everybody's data is breached, then nobody's is, because that would mean that whatever information is involved in the breach is no longer sufficient to determine identity.

And what more verifiable information would now be needed/used? I can't think of anything...

Those affected by this breach will be on the hook for years beyond the lousy "one year free credit monitoring" Equifax is offering. Added to the insult is that these three credit bureaus will reap hundreds of millions in profits from the freeze/unfreeze actions of those of us seeking to protect this information. But the CFO can sell tens of thousands of stock while maintaining NO insider knowledge. We all have stupid stamped on our foreheads.

File for a freeze would be nice, but then they try to charge for that. Couple that with a total inability to process a request - on-line rejects as busy and the telephone number is busy also. Can't even reach - there is no telephone number for a HUMAN.

I hope the plaintiff's bar will bring negligent entrustment claims against banks and finance companies who force consumers to "agree" to let the banks share our personal data with credit bureaus who can't or won't protect our information. Consumers don't pick the credit bureaus or monitor their quality - the banks who hire them have that responsibility. Here the banks have been grossly negligent in entrusting the identity and credit data of 143 million Americans to incompetent agents.

Went to annualcreditreport.com to try and get reports for myself and my wife. All 3 just give an error after you enter all your personal information, no credit report.

Why should people have to pay credit report companies to protect the privacy of their own information? This is known as a protection racket.

"We've got some nice data on you. Hate to see anything happen to it."

I'm very reluctant to give them another copy of my personal identification to learn if my information was included in the data they released.

Isn't the breached company obligated and required to individually notify each of us whose personal data "may" have been improperly disclosed? Are letters being sent to each of the affected individuals, and if not, why not?

I agree with you 100% and I'm reluctant as well. My question is why does Equifax, TransUnion, Experian have the right to make the provision of your Birth Date mandatory on a form before they will provide you with your entitled once a year "free credit report"?

Also, if one places a fraud alert on their file, whilst it may be free for 30 days, the onus is on the consumer to watch the 30-day period prior to them automatically charging you a monthly fee for this service.

There is no charge for a fraud alert.

A fraud alert is free. An initial fraud alerts last 90 days. After 90 days, you can renew your alert for an additional 90 days, as many times as you want.

can't get through to any of the 3 today, i suggest downloading IRS form 14039 to let the gov know of possible identity theft, seems more straightforward than the scam artists currently getting ready to rip off americans, and quite frankly, i smell a verrry fishy rat, comparable to the sub-prime fiasco, only they've gotten more brazen b/c they know nobody's watching the store

I tried to follow your instructions for the data breach and found out my info. was probably breached. However I never received a date (do not know where to find the date info) and when I was brought to enroll for trustedidpremier under terms and condition I could go any further. I called 1-888-548-7878 and not even an answer could be calling China. This web sight is handled poorly. What do I do next.

What is more unacceptable is that, when going to Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian, the credit freeze hotlines do not work. All dump you out of the menus and say to mail in your request. Even if we wanted to pay these extortion fees to protect ourselves, we cant in a timely manor because their systems fail to even work.

How can a hacker use your info to open a new account/loan without your knowledge? Wouldn't the loan co. or store get in touch with you before they finalize the transaction? Also, if you monitor your credit card acct each month you could presumable catch unauthorized charges. Maybe I don't fully understand what can happen but it seems to me that if you watch your accounts carefully this shouldn't be a problem.

I AM DONE ! FROM NOW ON CASH ON THE BARREL , NO CREDIT CARDS , NO BANK LOANS , NO AUTO LOANS , CASH FOR AN AIRPLANE TICKET ( THEY WILL LOVE THAT ) ! NO MORE LIVING BEYOND OUR MEANS ! NO MORE BIG BANKS TOO LARGE TO FAIL .
THE ECONOMY WILL NOSE DIVE AND THE PAPER PUSHERS WILL BE OUT OF A JOB ! YES , WE SHOULD ALL FREEZE OUR CREDIT AND NEVER UNFREEZE IT ! THESE CREDIT BUREAUS ARE MONSTERS ! AND BY THE WAY MY CREDIT SCORE IS 802 AND THE WIFE'S IS 818 ! , BECAUSE I KNOW THE GAME AND THAT THERE ARE NO RULES EXCEPT FOR THE ENSLAVEMENT OF YOU AND YOUR EASY MONTHLY PAYMENTS ! "" I'M MAD AS HELL AND I.M NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANYMORE ""

Good Luck...know how many places accept cash theses days (rent a car can't airline ticket can.t etc. no cash accepted). They're trying to get rid of all cash transactions of any type within the next decade. Will be using your cell phone to pay..no cell phone no get then.

Even if you stop all credit activity, the credit agencies will continue to maintain data on you. That data will still be susceptible to theft and fraud.

i dont know what to do, equifax said maybe, they said, "Based on the information provided, we believe that your personal information may have been impacted by this incident." i called and after reaching 2 reps and a supervisor, no-one would answer the question, does maybe mean yes? The supervisor said that this was a really good question and he was sorry he couldnt answer. I suggested they find out and put the answer on their FAQ's.

Frustrated, it says that even if you enter a fake name and fake six digit number. They say everybody is maybe impacted - just to get you into their 'product' free for one year but you'll pay forever after that.

FIX IT!!!!!!!

Where is the potential impact tab?.....

Can you do a credit freeze AND a fraud alert or do you have to pick just one?

Here are some examples. If you place a fraud alert, a creditor (like a store) could still give you a new credit card, after they check to make sure the person asking for the card is really you.

If you place a credit freeze, a store could not give you a new credit card. Your credit record is frozen, and the store can't check your record to evaluate whether you can get a card. A freeze stops you from getting credit or loans, until you lift the freeze. A freeze also stops a thief from getting new credit in your name. 

Read about credit freezes and fraud alerts.

I think it is a farce that they let hackers access our data and then show commercials to have Equifax scan for "Dark Web" issues on your computer. I do not understand why we have to go to them to receive a credit report and who gave them permission to access our records?

Tried to freeze my credit with Equifax via online. Impossible it said that with the information given the could not do it online.I tried calling same crap they want me to send through the mail 2 pieces of ID and all info.I don't trust this group at all they should should be shut down. I had no problem with the other 2 credit bureaus.

Why would you sign up with Equifax to protect you when they already screwed it up

It will not allow me to set up an account for the credit protection.

4 out of 5 people in my immediate family "possibly" impacted. One of which is still a minor. When I tried to enroll her in their protection program it wouldn't let me because she's a minor. The only reason they even have her info is because Blue Care Network compromised our data about 7 or 8 years ago, so we were enrolled in Life lock. they had a product for minors. Apparently Equifax does NOT. First he told me if she isn't able to enroll, then she wasn't effected. I don't think so!I asked what do I do if they've compromised a minor? How do I protect my daughter? I asked if there was someone I could escalate the matter to, he said "NO" then directed me to the FTC website and told me I could check on identity theft there and they had product I could purchase to protect her. I asked if Equifax would be paying for these services? He said "NO" So, now what do I do? This is OUTRAGEOUS!

This FTC article about Child Identity Theft has information about steps you can take.

Unable to place credit freezes through Equifax. Website and phone don't work. Experian and Transunion work fine.
Can someone just shut Equifax down for complete incompetence!?!

I cannot get through on line, by phone to any of the 3 major credit reporting agencies, just get an alert that it is temporarily out of service and to try back later!!!!!! By then, if not already, my identity may be being hijacked by some thief. I am not wealthy but have an excellent credit score (840) which makes me a relatively good target. I just want to protect myself. By the way, this administration is loosening the regulations for companies like Equifax so that they become even less responsible, accountable and liable for jeopardizing the welfare of the general population. Their consumers are the credit card, loan and mortgage companies. WE are their product, -what they sell to these companies, whether we agreed to this or not. Under the new policies, it will be WE, who will bear the brunt of the errors or negligence of these corporations, while they get a hand-slap. This renders us all as suckers, victims with little recourse. I find this disgusting that government no longer protects the people for whom they work, but rather blatantly protect the corporations and essentially the 1%. Meanwhile we are left to fight to protect ourselves with no assistance from those we have voted into office!

I wouldn't mind seeing how many people "haven't been affected"... after Big Bill | September 12, 2017 etc. and everyone else... I almost to believe this is a pacifier program, ultimately telling anyone who enters information there that they are affected... either it's a scam program attempting to legitimately "sign people up" for their services ... or... they aren't letting on just how big the breach is.. which is what I originally thought... EVERYONE in the nation is at risk as anyone can find a way to begin a search on your credit, thereby initiating their system of gather information on you in order to calculate your credit results... end result, for as long as they "retain" this information on their storage systems, your information is there, regardless of whether you are their client or not... now what is the "retention length", and do they actually wipe the storage to make sure deleted information is actually deleted... I haven't a clue.... maybe someone higher up should press them for the answer....

Get this: go to equafaxes potential impact tab and you can type in ANY fake name with ANY last 6 digits of a SSN and it says you are 'possibly impacted'. Immediately following is an invite to sign up for their free (for one year) security monitoring service - then you'll pay for the rest of your life. The whole thing is a scam. They leaked everyone's personal info then they sell us their product to save us! Where are our officials responsible to jail these people???? Try it, fake name fake number same results. Ridiculous.

AnnualCreditReport.com is not delivering the reports I request, but is saying I got them. The FTC is the fraud. The FTC is allowing the credit companies to force people to pay just so they can access their reports in a fair and reasonable timeframe.

we called and freezed our credit at other 3 credit reporting companies, except Equifax, after taking all personal info said they couldn't process, when can they process?? Should they be responsible for all the mess? Should they pay all the security freeze fees? Should they provide FREE credit monitoring for everyone affected FOREVER? No one can change name, ssn, date of birth, etc. None of us want them to monitor our credits, now when all is a big mess, who is taking responsibility?????

Why doesn't the government force Equifax to freeze credit and place a fraud alert for everyone whose credit was breached? Why is the burden being placed on consumers? Equifax should be forced to take the initiative and bear all costs to rectify their mess.

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