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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

We no longer possess any uniquely identifying, 'tranactionally pertinent' information about our financial identity. What we now do to protect ourselves against identity theft can easily be undone by the individuals who now share our identity with us. How does anyone now verify to another that they are the original (true) owner of their identity - and how many entities really care enough to make sure its the original owner they are dealing with?. The Equifax breach heralds in the dawn of a new day in that we can no longer pretend that everything will be OK. We must now accept that our systems and institutions that purport to to protect us are inept. It confirms in certain terms how vulnerable we have become and how powerless we and our systems of protection and stability are to deal with this now fully matured, dark reality. 'Identity' has become a valuable resource and a commodity; mined from the lives and the beings that built them and traded in a market that pretends to have ethical boundaries but has none where there is money to be made.

I checked to see if my info was compromised and then it directed me to an application for TrustedId Premier filling out name, dob, ss#, address,email address, mobil # and when I submit the only info is a big check mark and it says thank you we have successfully received info and are processing. Then it goes on to say next step, you will receive an email with a link to finalize enrollment, to be patient due to high volume of requests emails may be delayed. If you don't receive email in few days to contact them. Anyone else get this message? Sorry for rambling.

Princess Jasmine,

I followed the link also,(equifaxsecurity2017) and the FTC Consumer Alert instructions. After entering a partial SS# the message was that my info may have been compromised so I too got the free monitoring enrollment page. However, seeing that it requested my full SS#, name and email info.(considering the breach that spectacularly exposed prior failures), I decided not to enter the info. at this time. I don't trust the site or the panic that has ensued from millions of consumers descending upon Equifax. The FTC's Alert specifically stated;
"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 November 21, 2017 to enroll."

The response on the website I received asking for all of my info felt unseemly to me. I feel if they know who may have been impacted, those consumers should be automatically enrolled for extreme protections AND notified in writing of the precautions that have been taken and the reasons WHY along with sincere apologies for ANY inconveniences that this incident has caused and a number to contact for additional concerns (like if you are in the midst of working on a home mortgage or other major purchase). Therefore, I declined to enter additional information at this time. Think I'll wait a bit to see if they improve their processes or get sanctioned to do a better job. May have to write my state's Attorney General as well.

That being said, THANK YOU for posting and voicing your concern today. It made me feel a bit better to know that others were experiencing the same concerns. Hopefully, you are just a little paranoid (as we ALL are) and it is just a wrinkle because Equifax is OVERWHELMED and it will resolve itself shortly. Try not to worry but stay vigilant.

Yes I received the same message, though I was expecting to see an enrollment date. It sure is confusing. I did it a few days ago and expected to have received an email response by now, nothing so far, so I just resubmitted earlier today. Have you received a response from Equifax yet?

After the enrollment process is anyone else getting a message saying an email will be sent to complete enrollment process in a few days?

Unable to get Equifax online or phone to Freeze Account!
tried to enroll online for free credit protection and cannot get confirmation, even though they said i was affected. I have accumulated 6 different phone numbers. None of which were able to help. Any suggestions?

the consumers who' s lives are affected, NEVER asked for anyone to keep records on our spending habits in the first place. now that we've past that, we have no true control over what they report or how it's reported or how long it remains on our reports, ALL GOVERNMENT regulated. if Equifax knows we have been invaded why is it not their responsibility to put alerts/freezes on our accounts to protect us since their system was breached?

I totally agree. The government wants to protect us in so many other ways. Why aren't they doing something about this?

Why do I need to tell them if I have lived at my home for at least 2 years in order to sign up for fraud protection?!? That makes no sense.

These are the standard questions they ask when verifying your identity. they are basing them on your credit report.

One solution is likely ridiculously expensive, but Equifax should be required to foot the bill to have every single SSN replaced with some new unique identifier. Make it at least 15 digits, maybe include letters. In addition, every person must select a username and PIN that is also required to access any info associated with the replacement SSN. Sadly, retinal scans and thumbprints may be the only way to go sometime in the future. I am in my 40s, so I may be dealing with the fallout from the breach for 50 more years-YIKES!

I want to know if my information was compromised.

I was successful getting to the page you submit info on to Equifax (not the Premium Service). It took multiple attempts since windows of oppty are very fleeting due to the enormous traffic. The pin I received didn't have the defect the earlier ones did (they used easily brute-forced date-stamping). However with a 10-space field and only arabic numerals it was too short for modern crypto-hacking and can only be considered soft protection. They really should have used combined alphanumeric characters and extended the length to 15 digits. That would hold up for a little while.

Unable to process credit with Equifax either by phone or online. Message says "unable to process." My request to the other 3 credit report companies went through with no problem. What should I do now?

Of course the head executives new and cashed out stocks before they came out to the public.Then the company claiming they did not know.Is crap.They were told as soon as it happened.They were called in a panic.And asked what the company should do.Then they said we will send a prepared statement to tell the press.And before they did that.They cash out their stocks.A investigation should be done.And all memos and phone calls and emails checked on those executives.Then release that to the public.

I cannot get into ANY ONE of these sites - not TransUnion, Experian, or even LifeLock. Very, very frustating. Forget about calling, I've been on hold for an hour

Checked to see if I'm impacted (yes) and tried to freeze account. Equifax refuses to accept my freeze request. Now what?

I just went to the website, filled out the form, hit next, got the message, "Please wait while we process your request", watch the blue progress line go across the screen and got a blank screen! Where's my confirmation? Is this a scam, too?

I finally got through to them and asked about cancelling the current monitoring that I pay for. The guy told me he doesn't know how and can't help me and then hung up on me! What a horrible company!

Am I affected? Gave 6 digits& last name. Proved not a robot. Just get repeat of form to fill out.

Did I hear that there is some sort of waiver if you avail yourself of their credit monitoring service? terrible.

I checked Equifax to see if I'm impacted (yes) and then tried to place a freeze on my account. For two days I've tried to place a freeze only to have it just sit there and do nothing or to go through the entire process and then post a message that they couldn't complete the freeze at this time.

so I apply for a credit card through Lowes which uses Equifax to run my credit, how long does my information stay within Equifax system - or is my info already and always in their system?

EDD. Those involved with monitoring Hacks, should be libel and put in prison for a min of 5 years. Then maybe people would take monitoring more seriously.

so i put a bogus name and six number ones and gee it tells me i was affected and sign up. sounds like a way to get extra money to cover the losses after the breach

thanks so much for the added heartbreak, stress, paranoia and pain, which should last for the rest of my aging life, probably only have 13 years left, so yeah, thanks so much. How you can play loosy-goosy with our data leaves me breathless and deeply deeply annoyed...sheesh, like living in these hacking times isn't bad enough, you couldn't waste the money on better security? HERE'S A HINT: DON'T USE ANYONE FROM KASPERSKY OK? PLUS: you should be doing cartwheels to give us all all free credit monitoring for life, you SHOULD NOT MAKE A DIME OFF OF US.... CLASS ACTION SUIT, HERE I COME!!!! PLUS: !!!! WHAT THE HECK IS UP WITH YOUR POLICY THAT DOES NOT GIVE US ACCESS TO AN ACTUAL CREDIT PERSON WHO CAN ACCESS OUR ACCOUNTS? I WAS ON THE PHONE FOR HOURS AND HOURS LAST NIGHT, GOT THE NUMBER TO REACH YOU FROM THIS WEBSITE, Equifax Security 2017.... and spoke to a representative....and the SUPERVISOR WHO'S NAME WAS ANTHONY, UP IN New Joisey (my home state) and he swore upside down, over and sideways he had no access at that location to my account!!!! DUH??? AND OTHER NUMBERS I FOUND ONLINE WERE JUST BODILESS VOICES THAT ONLY GIVE YOU THE OPTION TO DO THIS OR THAT, BUT NO OPTION TO SPEAK TO A REAL HUMAN BEING WHO CAN START THE PROCESS FOR A HOST OF SPECIAL PROBLEMS YOU LET OUT OF PANDORA'S BOX!!!!!! SHAME ON YOU. SHAME ON YOU. SHAME ON YOU..... AND IF IT MEANS YOUR EXECUTIVES MAKE NO HOLIDAY BONUS FOR THE NEXT 20 YEARS TO GET US FREE FRAUD ALERTS, THEN DO IT DESPICABLE YOU!!!!!!

they have an 8 ball that gives you your response when you enter all of your information!!

You ARE bound by arbitration if you sign an agreement that says you are bound by arbitration UNLESS a court overturns it. A class action suit has ALREADY been filed on behalf of those whose information was breached. You can sign up and receive a confirmation number of your agreement to allow the suit to represent you as well.

Tried to do credit freeze. Sight says can't process request. Try again later. Called got busy signal. Nothing works. Also signed up and enrolled. Tried to sign my husband up and it says he's already enrolled. We're 2 different people. How'd he get enrolled? This place is a mess.

If you have a pulse and a job, you are probably affected. This is a life-long issue if the "Bad-guys" have Social Security numbers, birth date, etc. Many homeowner policies have identify fraud riders. Some comfort, but once your personal information is compromised, the damage is done. Is the best solution to freeze all credit accounts? Perhaps, but the long-term threat does not go away. We need to see some high-profile individuals hacked and then it will be game-on

Equifax did not fulfill their duty to protect our information. There is entirely too much hacking going on and much too little being done about it. This is what we get for allowing the government to allow companies like Equifax to collect our personal information. Shame on us for that.

I was able to freeze my credit on Experian and TransUnion phone systems. After multiple tries Equifax's phone system keeps saying it can't process my freeze request and to call back later or send in the request by mail.

I had my Identification stolen in 2015 and spent months stopping credit cards and lines of credit taken out in my name. It took me months to get extended fraud alerts added to my credit reports at the national credit companies. I don't think they care about you unless your buying their security products. Now it appears my data was part of the Equifax breach. Until we have a new national credit system I'm FREEZING my credit and limiting my purchases to necessities...that is if I can get Equifax to do it. (No way I'm entering personal info on their website!)

It's all about the money. You want to put a FREEZE on all three credit reporting agencies. You can do it online. There is a cost though of $10 each. If you are applying for credit or someone is checking your credit rating after the freeze, you have to find out which agency they are using, notify that agency to UNFREEZE your account at $10 cost. You then want to Re-FREEZE that agency, it's another $10. They are selling your information now and they want to make it as difficult for you as possible.

The cost to place a freeze and lift a freeze depends on state law. It might be $10, or something different.

I'm afraid to put SS# in to freeze credit on their site. Why would I trust their site?Are there any other options? This whole thing stinks, our government should intervene on our behalf.

The FTC Credit Freeze article has contact information for the three nationwide credit reporting companies. It also explains credit freezes and fraud alerts and how they work.

I feel that if a company has access to our PII data they should be required by law to give us up to date\real time information related to that data without charging us to do so. They should be forced to enable security measures that will immediately notify us by whatever automated means we decide when there is any activity in our profiles. They should not treat this data as if they own it. It is ours personal info! Not positive but I don't think Europe would allow this.

If youre not breached do you still recommend credit freeze?

I assume since I can share this on facebook, it is not a copy right issue for me to paste it my company's web site?

Yes, please share this information. We appreciate your help getting the word out to people.  You can also share links or make copies of the Credit Freeze FAQs to help people understand how freezes work. Thanks.

CAUTION.... I have a hyphenated last name. I went to the Equifax site and typed in my hyphenated name and SSN and was told that they do not believe my data was breached. To be careful, I then went back and used just my maiden name and SSN and it told me it most likely WAS breached. You may want to highlight this issue in your materials.

What's so sad is the regulators pile and pile and pile meaningless regs on financial institutions, but for vendors such as Equifax...they get off SCOTT Free. When are they going to put these same responsibilities on other groups and not just banks and credit unions. It's a joke.

I went to order my annual credit report and after wading through all the validations and Q&As and waiting and unbelievable amount of time while it "processed" Equifax came back with "Online Delivery Unavailable" then requires me to MAIL them a form plus two forms of ID. Equifax needs to be taken over by some other company that knows what it is doing. Unacceptable!

BINGO - JUST FIGURED IT OUT ! WHAT ENTITY WOULD BENEFIT MOST FROM THIS ?
A COMMON THIEF ? A CORPORATION ? IS THIS ABOUT MONETARY GAIN OR NATIONAL SECURITY ?
DO YOU NOT THINK AN ARMY OF KEYBOARD BEATERS IS WORKING ON THIS ?
JUST READ THE BITCOIN MARKET HAS BEEN HACKED !
YES , WE ARE SHEEP GRAZING ON THE RANGE , TRYING TO HIDE FROM A HAILSTORM !
WHO WOULD BENEFIT FROM BRINGING DOWN THE GREATEST ECONOMY ON EARTH ? THOSE ARE THE FOLKS WHO DID THIS ,
OR MAYBE A 12 YEAR OLD KID PLAYING PAST HIS BEDTIME !

I would like to know what steps that I'd need to take to have Equifax completely remove my personal information. I've never given that company any permission to store that data.

I visited as suggested "Visit Equifax’s website, www.equifaxsecurity2017. com". Is this REALLY LIGIT??
I entered "test" and 123456 and got the message my information might be impacted. Then I entered the following: test it out, as name, SSN: 123456789 Address:1234 test it out st, anywhere, American Somoa. Email: testit@ out. com Cell: 1234567890. I received message they have my data and will send out an email. Really???

Does anyone else find it interesting you have to put in the last six numbers? how many prefixes are there to a social sec. Number? Isnt that like a one in 50 chance of obtaining a social sec. Number "May have been impacted"

I was told my data was compromised and to return to the Equifax site for a free year of ID protection. I returned to register today and the website has a virus infection so I can not register to get their premiere identity theft protection.

This is beyond annoying. I have called all three credit companies and after entering all required information, the system tells me "we cannot process your request". They directed me to mail my request. This is absurd. The federal government needs to take the reigns of this corporate fraud that is running our nations credit system and exploiting its citizens.

I've managed to apply a credit freeze at TransUnion and Equifax but was unable to at Experian it rejected it for some unknown reaosn and asks to mail stacks of information in. It's also impossible to speak with anyone at Experian it's only an online or automated phone system. What the hell I want to speak with a representative to apply a credit freeze! In addition I've had to pay $10 to each of them to freeze my credit. Talk about collusion and extortion. So then I tried to run my www. annualfreecredit. com report as recommdned by the FTC and the system crashes and then TransUnion says it can't process the request and to try again later. What the hell is going on. Where is my consumer protection FTC?

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