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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

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.

I am unable to pull my free annual report due to heavy volumes. This is ridiculous.

When I clicked on www.equifaxsecurity2017.com and clicked on "potential impact" and entered any combination of bogus names and last 6 digits of any combination of #s as a SS# they all stated that I could have been impacted. Something isn't adding up here!!

Moving forward, how can I remove all my personal information from Equifax possession?

Does anyone know how to do this? They believe they are God.

Equifax should no longer be a player in the credit rating game. They've had too much power for too long, and for what? So they can lose personal data. Then they want you to go on their site, put personal info in for them to evaluate if your info was compromised? So let them have more personal data to expose?! I think I'll pass on that wonderfully obnoxious offer.

I tried to request my credit report but I received a message that "due to high volume because of the Equifax breach we cannot access your credit report at this time. Please try your request later."
This process is useless. We were advised to get the credit reports to file an identify theft report, which is needed to do a fraud alert.
No one should have access to my information unless, I have personally given it to them... So angry right now!!!

I am not computer savey. I don't buy anything off the computer because I don't want to take a chance on someone stealing my identity. I never give out information that could compromise my credit. How could a large company like Equifax not protect our information! How could hackers systematically steal millions of Americans info since May and we don't even hear about it until Sept. Who are these hackers?? Is our money being used to pay for North Korea's missile program?? Why can't computer experts track this down??? Sorry, I'm just so disgusted about this whole mess. I want the government to step up- close this company and fire all the employees!!!

Why in god's name would anybody want to enroll in a service through a company that just had the most dangerous data breach in american history?

How can I get aequifax to pay my charges to freeze credit?

Radio news commented that Equifax CEO and their CFO sold their stock ahead of the report that went public. They should be where Madoff is. There should be enough people to make this a into a front page storm and fill up our congressmans offices across this nation and demand that they are willing to move immediately to not penalize all of their constituents from having to pay for something that is not their fault.

Equifax should provide life-long credit monitoring. Do you think the thieves or whoever they sell the data to are going to say "oh, we'll use these 43 million profiles only between 2017 and 2018"? This is going to take years to unravel. I can't believe the FTC is allowing them to give only one year monitoring. For one of the previous breaches (Anthem? Target? I forget), I got three years free, and the breach wasn't even as bad as Equifax's. THIS IS OUTRAGEOUS!!!

I repeatedly get a message that Transunion can't do a credit freeze due to unusually high volumes, but at the same time, I can click on the link to enroll in their TrueIdentity program which provides a credit lock

Right now put a freeze on with all three credit agencies which you can do quickly online. And when you wake up, check all your bank accounts; then before you go to bed, repeat process. Same for credit cards. We have no choice but to be daily guardians of our credit and investments.

One year credit monitoring is a joke. A year wait is nothing for a criminal. It should at least be 3 or 5 years. You don't deserve to keep my information. I want to be deleted from your databases. Why is that not an option. I'll deal with having a limited credit history. We still have two others. Competition is good. Writing my Senator, this is BS

I have not received the link to "continue" to sign up for monitoring-- what is taking so long?? Began the process yesterday 9/13. Too many people signing up??? Why didn't they add additional hardware/software/bandwith for the additional traffic? why should we have to wait to sign up?

why do we have to go thru the hassle of freezing our credit report and looking up the three credit report companies? Can't they immediately freeze our credit reports automatically? They're the idiots who got hacked! Don't they have security to prevent hacking? When Target was hacked, they sent me an email and gave me a year free monitoring service. Will I get an email from Equifax? I'm not sure I have a credit report! I did years ago and some things didn't look right! But I didn't contact them then! I might have to now!

Your credit report includes information on where you live, how you pay your bills, and whether you’ve been sued or have filed for bankruptcy. Nationwide credit reporting companies sell the information in your report to creditors, insurers, employers, and other businesses that use it to evaluate your applications for credit, insurance, employment, or renting a home.

To order, visit annualcreditreport.com, call 1-877-322-8228. That is the only website authorized by federal law to fill orders for your free annual credit report.

Shouldn't all credit reports be AUTOMATICALLY FROZEN in light of what happened???
Then add back a new verification protocol to unfreeze credit reports, that would include info hackers DON'T have.
Right now this is an open wound with no bandaid.

Should both spouses place a credit freeze on all 3 credit bureaus?

You and your spouse might have joint accounts for credit cards, a car or mortgage, but you have individual identities, social security numbers, names, birthdays and credit reports.

 

Your credit report includes all those details, plus information about where you have lived, accounts you have had, how you have paid your bills, and whether you’ve been sued or have filed for bankruptcy. If a thief gets your personal information, or your spouse's, and you don't have a freeze on the credit report, the thief could open new accounts in that name. Read more about Credit Freezes.

 

I enrolled and never received the email. When I go in now to check it won t let me in. I have been compromised. What to do?

If Equifax experienced a security breach, what assurances to I have that my credit freeze was not also compromised?
Can criminals simply lift the security freeze or gain access to my passcode?

this company is pathetic. Thanks a whole lot for probably destroying our identity

So....put a bunch more info into the system of the guys who lost my info? No thanks...

Equifax should offer a free report of credit, outside of the standard free annual report.

Contact your government representatives now. Equifax executives need to have some form of punishment for not only this but their insider trading.

The CEO of this company is still in office. I hope the FTC will be working with Justice to ensure that someone GOES TO JAIL for this !!

EXPERIAN IS THE SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION' SOLE "Identity Services Provider"
this means that your retirement benefits and medicare accounts are vulnerable to unauthorized changes for the rest of your life.

IF YOU USED A CREDIT CARD IN THE LAST 7 YEARS FOR ANY PURPOSE AT ANY LOCATION, YOU CAN SAFELY ASSUME IT HAS BEEN STOLEN. The extent of breaches means everyone's identity has been breached..numerous times. Equifax is just the most recent and not even the largest.

EVEN IF THE CONGRESS WERE TO SHUT EQUIFAX, TRANS-UNION & EXPERIAN DOWN IT WOULD NOT HELP YOU OR FUTURE GENERATIONS. There are over 4000 other data brokers out there busily collecting your information..GOOGLE by no means the least of them. The business of data collection is unregulated and poses a lasting threat to all of us.

EVEN IF ONLY THE GOVERNMENT HAD LEGAL ACCESS TO YOUR DATA YOU WOULD NOT BE SAFE. Zero-Day exploits and other hacks routinely have breached govt databases. Simply put no information is safe in any repository except maybe in a coffee can buried in your back yard.

THE SYSTEM OF PLASTIC CREDIT IS IRREVOCABLY BROKEN AND CANNOT BE FIXED>>EVEN THEORETICALLY. This is because credit, credit histories, etc. are, boiled down to their essence, information. Information is such only when it propagates. Propagation is not private short of quantum entanglement. Q.E.D.

probably the only security we have is how awesomely comprehensive the thefts have been. So many people's identities have been stolen, that the probabilities are low individuals will be impacted immediately. Spread the time out and the risk increases. Right now the best image is a huge herd of sheep surrounded by a very much smaller number of wolves. The wolves can eat any sheep they want, it just is one's hope/luck that one doesn't get picked out.

Sheep dogs are pretty much helpless to protect the herd. As one of the executives of Adobe said, "what we're up against nowadays are carrier-class adversaries" i.e. bad-actors whose resources are equivalent to nation-states. Against this type of opposition, even the best private corporations are fairly vulnerable

all 3 are completely non-responsive via internet and phone. What a joke. Equifax should be responsible to monitor for the life of the individual.. We shouldn't have to pay a dime.

So, what do you do if you already followed through with the TrustedID process? Just accept that I'm even more screwed than I was because now I can't participate in a lawsuit if my identity is stolen at some point in the future??? Great....

My experience yesterday trying to do the credit freeze for each.
Experian - within seconds, process done & credit freeze
Equifax - entered my data, didn't recognize me as having an account, I clicked submit just in case, & it processed & gave my unknown account a credit freeze.
Transunion - link n/a (also today)

Yesterday, I also attempted to enroll via https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/enroll/ in the complimentary identity theft protection and credit file monitoring services as the initial check showed my personal information was impacted.

Part 1 was no problem, Part 2, after receiving the e-mail was a problem. I received Enrollment Error - We are unable to activate you online. Please contact Customer Service at 1.877.394.7074.
Per telecon, both the initial & supervisor told me I needed to read & submit the papers. I kept saying it was their e-mail & their link with no result.

Is Equifax still issuing credit reports? I had to wait two days to be allowed to enroll in TrusteID Premier, but then was told (two days ago) that I would get an email telling me when I could specificy what it was I wanted. I've tried to sign up for a credit freeze on the main Equifax website, but was told access was not available. So, I wonder what happens if a false credit application is made in my name, and the potential lender requests a Equifax credit report.

I am so upset and outrage and living in fear for the rest of my life!!!!!!

my id was breach with sprint..account opened in my name

Why would anyone trust Equifax and enroll in their one year of free product ?

I have tried several times to freeze my file via phone and on line. Receives message cannot process at this time AFTER I have provide the information requested and followed all prompts. Very frustrating!!! I tried various times of the day also to no avail. I realize there is a vast number of persons involved but why does one receive the basic cannot process message at the end thinking it may work this time instead of at the beginning?

I just entered 10 different names with 123456 as the social and they ALL were 'impacted'

Will the FTC be investigating Equifax and their practices to determine if they violate the standards used in the FTCs cases against other companies like the ones mentioned in the presentation given at DEF CON 24? I know there is a case being investigated on grounds of negligence, but after Toyota got acquitted for negligence after killing people in the 'unintended acceleration' case due to there not being hard legally-enforceable standards with regard to software development practices, I am worried Equifax will not be punished and will not change their practices. Most of their job openings listed on their site for software developers in the USA, for example, do not even contain the word 'security.' (Oddly, some of their openings in Europe do actually mention security, although a bit off-hand.)

Why is Equifax not automatically, and at their own expense, just extending protection to everyone in their database? And while I'm at it how do you get incorrect information off a credit report?

Dos everyone realize that Equifax routinely sells your credit information. My mortgage company does NOT report to Equifax because of this practice.

Trans Union web site for freezing credit is not working as you can not complete the long process, and no one is answering their phones I get a constant busy signal. Same goes for Equifax. The only credit company that was easy to work with the first time around was Experian. Their web site for the freeze worked perfectly. The others are a joke and frankly should be run out of business. They are useless to the public.

I can't even get into Transunion or Equifax to get my credit reports

Guess what! I posted about how I use a different company for FREE credit monitoring and it is not showing up. Isn't that interesting. These people are total scum.

Site freezes when i try to place a freeze, nobody can help on the phone, they send me to a number which is automated and has no human help, what a pathetic response.

The Equifax site does not work. They should be sued by the FTC for incompetence.

How do you know that the website you visit to freeze your account is legitimate? You're having to enter your "sensitive" information. How do you know it's not a hack? I'm finding it difficult to trust any information out there. How better to "hack" someone's identity than to incite panic to "protect" yourself by entering your information onto a website!

Is anyone else having trouble getting into the new site for this issue?

I went on TransUnion and tried to do a fraud alert and when it got to asking for my last name and ss# i got an error saying I didn't enter a last name. I tried it again & same thing. I'm now concerned I might have entered my info into a look-a-like website and now they "do" for sure have my info. :( How do we know these sites we get redirected to are safe?

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