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 have had a credit freeze in place with all three bureaus for several years. When I tried to register for the free year of credit monitoring offered by Equifax through TrustedID, I was told that I would have to unfreeze or thaw my account before the registration process could be completed.
I feel that I am more secure by forgoing the credit monitoring service.

I have also signed up for Trustedid from Equifax but the web site has not existed for several days. Called Equifax and they said that it was the traffic that MIGHT be causing the problem. Try early morning or late evening. But was was the Equifax web site up and running and why was the Trustedid product available on their HOME PAGE. Something smells fishy.

I am a US resident but currently I am in Hungary. The server Equifax is using blocks this country from accessing "Am I impacted". What do I do?

PeterN,
Thanks for your comment. I don't have an immediate answer, but will check with others and get back to you.

BECAUSE OF THE BREACH WE HAVE TO BE WORRIED ABOUT IDENTIFY THEFT FOR THE REST OF OUR LIVES.THEY SHOULD OFFER IDENTIFY THEFT PROTECTION FOR THE REST OF OUR LIVES FOR FREE. SOMEBODY SHOULD HAVE TO DO SOME TIME.

Equifax link to TrustedID Premier to finalize enrollment giving " system unavailable" for last 6 days. phones no help......Who is watching out for the 140 mil. victims ??

I have waiting for the followup email from Equifax since Sept 11. Got an email saying its been delayed.

It took days to get credit freezes placed and I still can't get one set on my husband's data at Experian. Their website is a joke. Click on the option to place a credit freeze or even a fraud alert and the next page says "Loading" but never does. I think it's a fake page. Took several tries to place a freeze for my data over the phone. Have tried over and over to put do the same for my husband's account and it just won't work. There is no option to speak to a real person, just to purchase their "credit protection" offering. Yeah, right, like I would trust them, let alone pay them, to protect my credit. Hah!!!

I took your advice and froze my credit. Now I'm trying to purchase land to build a house and cannot un freeze my credit. Every automated system, email etc is a loop to nowhere!!

always call the phone number and leave it open for a longer time than needed. going to purchase a car at the dealership in the next week? unlock it for two weeks. applying for a mortgage? unlock it for 4 weeks. never know when the credit is going to run and when there will be delays.

Enter my information into TrustedID Premier, but after completion it would not allow me to submit the information.

When I click on the 2017 for checking my accountlink I get the following error.

The Amazon CloudFront distribution is configured to block access from your country.

does anyone have the numbers they feel are real to put a credit freeze on our credit for all three experian, trans union ,and equifax. because I have three numbers for trans union and not sure which is safe?

I was aware of the hack and kept trying to a!ert govt and police.... No one took me seriously. I had to force police to take some evidence. I received Equifax,reports and letters from Florida 2016 in 2017. The hack started earlier. Also.. Experian was hacked earlier than reported... I. believe they are trying to get in transUnion. They started with fake. automated system. Modified or fake reports.. Mail interceptions. I believe they have insiders also.based on my experiences...good at stealing and covering up info... FBI hung up me. hacker was
Ease dropping..
Always blocking me from getting ic3, mail, calls out. Its been wild!

I'm interested in suing Equifax for the lifelong tumor that i will forever endure. Their Equifax ID Patrol® stated that you are covered for 1 Millions dollars if compromised. Well, im compromised!!!!
Any one knows how to go about doing that ?

This could be a "not so subtle" push to get people to consider the chip implant. Think about it! If "they" sell the idea as a "security enhancement" option more people are going to voluntarily stand in line for the process. And it looks better for the government and everyone involved Because it shows that nobody is being forced to do this. Until they make it mandatory by telling us that it's necessary due to the societal technological advances. Make everyone confirm. Or lose everything!!! Pretty soon,currency will no,longer exist. Just credits.

How do I remove a credit card that I did not request from my report ? I didn't order a CHASE Bank CARD !!!

I ALSO DID THEIR CHECK AND GOT THE COMMENT THAT I "MAY HAVE BEEN IMPACTED???? I CALLED AND THEY SAID THEY CANNOT TELL ME ONE WAY OF ANOTHER FOR SURE??? HOW CAN THEY NOT KNOW FOR SURE. WHAT THE HECK

This is ridiculous. I can not get past recaptcha. I have never had this problem with other websites.

Spent much time and trouble trying to get my PIN and letter from Equifax. I instigated a security freeze on 9/14/17 Thought all was okay; told I would get a letter of confirmation with my PIN that I would need if I had to lift the freeze. No letter and cannot get anywhere with three different phone numbers I was able to find. This whole thing is a big joke. If my information is breached because of this, I will sue.

I cant figure a way to get my pin either, i hope the crooks that have our info have just a tough a time as us using it!

Wait, why is Fraud Alert necessary? Who says it's not their responsibility to do take this care regardless?

Love how even if you not calling for the data breach there is no body to talk to. Just gives you a non working number for an agent.

Two weeks now since I filled out the form on Equifax for establishing Credit monitoring. Only a email response that they received it and would send me a email for me to fill out. Have not received this from yet.
Tried to get credit report from the other two agencies (online at annual credit report.com); both said that that they were "unable to complete the request at this time.

Do NOT agree to Equifax's terms when signing up for their monitoring. If you do, you are waiving your right to sue them. They hide it in their terms.

i was not given a pin and have been unable to find a way to get one, have called many of the numbers and all are automated...finally i found a number on another forum 1-866-447-7559 and i spoke with 2 different people in 2 separate calls and neither one had a clue what i was asking and offered no answers, i think they just hired people with no clue to just answer the phones!

All three credit reporting company's should be legislatively required to provide credit freezes for life for everyone. We did not choose to have all of this info aggregated into one giant dangerous database and they are making money off of our personal information. I have not ever written a letter to a congressman but I will be now.

I tried to put a credit freeze on my files. Filled out all the screens and was prompted to click on the PDF to get my PIN number. As soon as I clicked, the site crashed. No PIN and no idea if the credit freeze initiated. I don't trust the website to check. I will write them a letter and send it via US Postal mail.

I attempted to enroll at the Equifax Protect and Monitor application site. I do not have a mobile phone. The call center said to try my land line. That did not work. There were no alternatives. I can't believe I am the first applicant without a Cell phone. Any suggestions?

If I can't use my email address how do you respond to me??? I have done everything properly when I activated on line. Then you tell me I entered my birthdate incorrectly which I did not!!! Then I try calling and I get put on hold forever. NEXT STEP PLEASE!!!

I've done everything the Equifax webpage has instructed me to do. Received the follow-up email with link to finish enrollment four days ago. The link website provides a window that states "System Unavailable" ever since. Have tried link all hours of the day and night with the same response. Who is overseeing the response to protecting the 183 million breached Equifax customer accounts? FTC? Why are they allowing Equifax to WHITEWASH this whole security breach situation? The FTC should have investigators on premises at Equifax daily to oversee that Equifax is acting responsibly to protect the public's breached personally identifiable information until this situation is brought under control and everyone's breached identities are secured and/or provided adequate protections which have been promised by Equifax.

they are basically unregulated, look up CDIA (consumer data industry association) it had a lot to due with setting up the credit agencies. The FTC can do little more enforce fair business practices.

1. They were breached in March--did you know that? I didn't. 2. They were breached again in May and didn't bother to inform anyone until September. 3. Meanwhile, 3 of their execs sold off their stock. 4. Their fearless leader just got out with a nice big golden parachute--at our expense! 5. You can sue them as an individual or you may already be included in one or all of the 50 class action suits which have already been started. I signed on with the one in Chicago. 6. Did you know that all 3 of the credit reporting agencies have been selling your information to their "trading partners/associates" for YEARS? That's why you get slammed with sketchy credit card offers and weird insurance co. offers whenever you open your mailbox! Cut those off and freeze your accounts!

Unfortunately freeze in the account is not the full and complete answer to this problem. People can freeze their accounts if they choose to but that does not address other areas of identity theft at such as medical information, Social Security, character in criminal identity theft, and DMV identity theft or the newest one out there synthetic identity theft

I did it, got a date, semi-enrolled, and an Email said it could take a while to get final account activation code. That was September 14th (2017). Here it is 27-September and still no Equifax activation code. From their last E-mail:
"We recognize you may not have received your activation email for TrustedID Premier. We apologize for the delay and assure you we are working diligently to send your activation email as quickly as possible."

Equifax CEO and others should be in jail, forfeit their pensions and stock plus be fined!

What can THEY do! That is the real question. Equifax phone numbers always busy, or, long wait times and then no account, and no answers. Our government needs to take immediate steps to protect us NOW. Not make laws that eventually will protect us (or actually just fine them them once a breach happens - offering no protection).

By the way, thanks FTC. You have been helpful. But please push to take immediate action that helps us. Then take immediate action to hold Equifax accountable and responsible for the possible outcome to all of this - our identities stolen because their blunder to implement a simple patch.

ok

Why are 143 million people required to individually place a Credit Freeze with three different sites? That is 429 million opportunities for error. Why isn't Equifax doing this? Don't understand why we should do all the work and spend our time (most of it wasted on phone calls and malfunctioning web sites) dealing with the frustration caused by Equifax.

Is the sources credible about your SS and etc. ?

CLICK ON LINK TO SEE IF IVE BEEN IMPACT BY THE EQUIFAX IS NOT WORKING THIS HAS BEEN GOING ON FOR OVER A WEEK ALSO TRIED CONTACTING THEM SO THEY CAN ADD A CREADIT FREEZED THAT I AM ENTILED TO FOR 1 YEAR DUE TO EQIFAX BREACH AND NOT ABLE TO CAN YU PLEASE HELP VERY CONCERN HERE

#1 if you can enter your info into a system for information a person can tell you the same thing. #2 anyone evee think that this site is asking too much....your name and last "6" digits of ss# that's half of what's needed to steal your identity anyways. Anyone knows that the first 3 digits is determined by your location of birth. Imagine what else they can figure out with just a bit of research!! Careful folks!

What the feds should do is conscript all those who have retired and quit and put them back to work answering the phones. The IT folks should be working on the solution. This can be done under the National Security Act.

We don't need these companies. Put them out of business. The government should allow consumers to opt out of allowing the companies to collect our information and everyone should opt out. Goodbye Equifax and the others.
Lenders were able to make loans years ago, they will learn to exist without these companies.

You should file a police report and use it to freeze your credit. It wasn't hard to do. I called the local city police department in Washington state about filing a police report for the Equifax data breach. They encouraged us to file a report and proceeded to send a police officer to the house who filed a report and gave us a police report number for my wife, son and I.

You can file a police report if you are an identity theft victim and you have proof that someone misused your information  - for example - to get a credit card, get medical care or government benefits, or file taxes.

If your information was exposed in a breach, but you don't know that your information was misused, you take different steps. This page has a list of steps to help people affected by the Equifax breach.

I've never heard of giving the last six digits of social security number, why not just the last four?

Grannygranny - do NOT do this. As another poster stated if you know states are identified by the 1st 3 digits of your SS#, thus by giving your last 6, your ENTIRE SS# is known!

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