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

Equifax log in for 1 yr deal keeps looping and I cannot log on.

I was referred for free service from my job because all my personal info was exposed. Now few years later..my info exposed by the company that was supposed to keep my info safe. What does a person do now?

I filled out the form to enroll in Equifax's free credit monitoring last Wednesday. The screen popped up saying they were processing my enrollment. Here it is, five days later, and no activation email. Their only recourse in the FAQ is to check your spam folder after a "few days." I check my spam folder every single time I check my email, dozens of times a day. It's not here. What on earth do I do now? Are other people experiencing this delay?

started enrollment 5 days ago but still have not received the "email" to complete enrollement. Therefore not enrolled yet. I've checked all spam and junk folders. It's not there.

My child's information was compromised in the Equifax breach. However, their website does not allow you to enroll a minor in the free credit protection. When I call the number I am told they do not offer the service to a minor. I find it extremely frustrating this a child's information could be on the Equifax server and breached, yet it's not possible to monitor their credit profile. Does anyone have advice or answer for this?

This FTC about child identity theft explains some steps you can take.

If you go to Equifax's www. equifaxsecurity2017. com and enter your last name as "Test" and then enter the numbers 1,2,3,4,5,6, it says that your info was most likely stolen. Equifax has made this whole thing a total joke!

If Equifax is the problem in all of this, why on Earth would anyone now trust Equifax by providing their first and last name and last SIX numbers of their SS#?! What has happened to prove that Equifax can be trusted on any level?

Apparently, you will NOT be able to put a fraud alert in their system, either via on-line and/or by phone! The on-line freezes when you hit submit, and after going thru the automated phone system, after keying in your ss# address #, etc., IT THEN INFORMS YOU to mail in your request with required documentation.

I tried to place a freeze, I entered all the info and submitted it but then the system said come back later to get you pin number because or systems are not available. Looks like EQUIFAX is down at the moment terrible

I entered my real credentials and the answer was something like "Your information may have been breached". No definite answer.

One of the most common theft types of Social Security numbers is for illegal aliens to use the SS #s of minors to be able to get jobs, pay "taxes", etc. My children's social security numbers were exposed in this breach according to the Equifax website, yet when I AS THE PARENT try to enroll them in the monitoring service, the site tells me I cannot because they are not 18. I as the parent and legal guardian should be able to sign them up to monitor their SS #.

This FTC article about child identity theft explains some steps you can take.

Cant enroll in monitoring cuz their systems are too busy, but "enrollment is available 24/7"

I filled out the on line forms to freeze. Got the "we have located your file". Last page says send us a letter w/ name/ address/ss # and birth date. Say what?? I'm not in the habit of mailing my ss # to a P.O. Box! This smells, like a scam to me. I just gave you that info by filling out your forms. Neither TransUnion, Experian, Innovis, etc required something sent to them. Customer friendly? NOT

checking to see if I have being breach my identity theft

i was trying to see if i had been compromised-- i was giving this email but it is not working-- they said all i had to do was give my last name and 6 digits of SS number

People can get assaulted in the street illegally for 5 bucks. With their greed, tools and know how, how much you think they can get legally out of all of us? Do you know who?

Why is it up to the consumer to find out if they are part of the hack they know who has been hacked and they should be informing us.stop putting the responsibility on other people and accept your responsibility to the consumer

HI, where is the "“Potential Impact” tab

Equifax will not generate an electronic copy of my credit report wants me to send in my Social Security number and/or w-2 and salary info-the other 2 bureaus did not request this!

Equifax credit freeze page is unavailable. I've had no trouble with Experian and Transunion. In the end, if we can't get into Equifax to freeze our credit, all the vaunted year long free monitoring is worthless.

Can't freeze credit at Equifax! Site unusable/down. Great, the other two work (Experian and Transunion) but not the one that got hacked. Now what????

what good a credit freeze? I had a freeze in place before the breach and my info was stolen because they failed to update their servers and patch software accordingly.

"SCAM" & "CON" ARE THE WORDS TO DESCRIBE THE STATE OF THE UNION --- THESE UNITED STATES...GREED IS THE CREED --- DON'T WORRY --- THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO STOP IT ! HAVE A MARTINI AND KEEP USING ALL YOUR CREDIT CARDS !

Having been identified as possibly compromised, I have tried to enroll in the free credit protection service. It's impossible! I've tried for 5 days--and after I complete the form (including my SS #), I am precluded from submitting my form. I try to click on the final send button--and nothing happens. None of my information is submitted. This company truly is very bad. It can't even follow through on its promises. This is where the gov't should step in.

Same thing--I filed in the needed info and tried to enroll but the "continue" button will not work.

You have to type in your needed info. You can not copy and paste, you have to use keystrokes on the keyboard. If the birth date or any information pre-fills, thats no good. You have to type the information in.

I understand Equifax is providing a credit freeze at no charge for a short period of time. Individuals impacted will have to pay the other 2 for this issue caused by Equifax. In addition, depending on state, Equifax will charge you to release the freeze later when seeking credit. This seems to unjustly increase the Equifax revenue stream in the future due to the breach. Each state is different, but at the high end, this is $10 per release, etc. With 143 million individuals impacted, this is a significant amount of revenue all 3 credit reporting agencies will be obtaining. (Granted, not all 143 million will do this, and $10 is the max per agency). This will amount to millions.

Credit monitoring and freezes are inadequate. A criminal can still use your data to cause you immense pain and suffering. The only solution is new social security numbers and credit account numbers. Also need new Medicare ID numbers. Equifax should be responsible for all of it and for fixing any problems. Email your federal elected officials and lean on them hard!

Have now in over a week tried to get a credit freeze set up via Equifax. Their system does not work. They gave me a date the second time I tried, only to be sent back to their opening page on the date they gave me. I must have filled in the forms on their website five times or more. Lately I was promised an email which would enable me to register the credit freeze. Needless to say, no email have arrived.

An additional caution - the first 5 numbers of your social security number can be deduced from your date of birth and location. The last 4 digits are the'secure' part. Those are the ones you should be the most cautious to give out.

An additional caution - the first 5 numbers of your social security number can be deduced from your date of birth and location. The last 4 digits are the'secure' part. Those are the ones you should be the most cautious to give out.

"may have been impacted" What does that mean?

Equifax is not providing online credit reports through annualcreditreport.com. Equifax asked me to mail them a request and a dozen pieces of mail before they'd grant my request. FTC please make Equifax provide online credit reports!!! THEY are the reason we are in this mess; the least they can do is make the inquiry and identity protection process easier for the millions of people they harmed.

No, Equifax must contact all that are affected. They must make this right, not just sluff if off on the people they harmed by saying "your on your own... Oh, we will give you 1 free trial year to credit monitoring, but after that you have to pay..."

This wouldn't have been as huge a deal if the hackers hadn't gotten out SSNs. We need a federal public law enacted requiring the SSA to re-issue SSNs to all who request them. The law should then make it a civil offense for any company to require you to give them your SSN. The law additionally needs to require all credit agencies to replace all SSNs in their records by an account number of their own creation and obliterate all records of SSNs from their records. Further, said credit agencies must submit to mandatory spot-checking by the FTC (or other Federal agency) to verify said law has be n complied with.

What happens after a year? My birthdate and social security number will stay the same for the rest of my life.

I do believe other action should taken on this.

Has anyone checked to see how much stock Equifax executives have in these credit protection companies, like LifeLock and others that advertise keeping your information safe? interesting thought, huh.

I tried to register including my wife, however neither of us are getting the so-called confirmation emails. Has this happened to anyone?

My posts aren't showing up, but I'll try again... A friend and I both registered last Wednesday, and some family members did a few days ago as well. None of us has received an email -- and I'm checking my spam folder constantly.

Yes, same for me, registered last Wednesday, still no email. I called the customer support number today and was told to just re-enroll and wait for the email again. When I tried to re-enroll, it just looped me back to the same page to enter my name and partial SSN over and over and over. When I called customer support back, I was told to wait two more days for the email and call back if I didn't receive it. I'm done with them, going to pursue through the Texas Attorney General.

I am very worried, I checked my/husband's ss numbers and was told we were affected. When I attempted to get to the screen to get their month of free protection, it asked for personal info, said we will email you soon after the info was entered, also said to "check spam" for the next steps, I am certain now that in my paranoia to get some protection for us, I now believe that I gave a spammer my info. They had a reCaptcha, but it only had the check box. I am certain it was the Equifax website. I am reading that people should have gotten a date to go back and apply, I was not given a date. Have I been scammed?

The thief(ves) could be inside the equifax.They took the Equifax database and sold customers'info to marketers for money. Can the government do anything about this breach?

In the same way i can get a new credit card number, we should change our social security systems to allow for new SSN's to be issued.
It's absurd that a breach like this will haunt us for the rest of our lives, when a change in SSN could fix this quickly.

fedup, aren't all the creditors that we trusted with our info also responsible for not being a good custodian of the info?

People are worried about class action lawsuits when they should be worried about their information. Class action suits only benefit lawyers and not consumers. We should be able to sue them individually and have Congress put them on a grill and into the pen!
And the only way to rectify is to have free credit freezes for life, if that helps.

It took me a while but the site said I may have been impacted by the breach. I was able to put an alert and a freeze on all 3: Equifax & Experian at no charge but Transunion charged $10 for the alert & another $10 for the freeze. I also sent a complaint to my State Attorney General per his request on the local news.

The bottom line is that The US Govt should declare this credit company weak and irresponsible. President Trump should tell them "YOU ARE FIRED". Who needs this credit company anyway. No us the consumers. They can keep their freaking score numbers. I don't need a freaking score. My credit rating is in the septic tank anyway. Just saying.

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