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

thanks for the information

It really erks me that I have to put all my info in just find out they are to busy for me. They keep my info and say return later, you stupid sucker. Everything I read from the government said go to the website or call and everything will taken care. We are just cattle to them all.

While I also experienced similar error messages and lengthy time delays, I was recently re-directed to a "log-in" page prompting me to enter my "e-mail" and "password". This was exceptionally concerning due to the fact that "I never created a password" for the free monitoring service Equifax offers to begin with!!, It took two weeks for me to receive the initial e-mail notification to even attempt to "activate" my initial request. I spent hours on the phone waiting to reset the "password" with a call center representative and to ensure my new account was not hacked. They finally confirmed this was the latest "glitch" customers are experiencing related to the "poorly executed" and seemingly "deterrent filled" government imposed sanction. While I was able to retrieve a "verbal" temporary password reset code from the "initial" call center representative, they could not access my credit account?? They also lacked the ability to provide me with a "secure method" to retrieve this information via e-mail. Again, extremely concerning with the current threat of identity theft widely apparent. I was eventually transferred to another Equifax department which appeared to contain "reputable" representatives to further assist me with initiating the "free" credit freeze on my account. Equifax then requires "another" 48 hours for customers to gain access into their "newly created" credit monitoring accounts, along with completing their "credit freeze" requests.

I came across another link on the site requiring customers to "opt out" of future "firm offers" of credit and insurance. I imagine Equifax will attempt to "sell" our private information at some point in an effort to recoup their losses. I do not wish to receive excessive e-mails or telemarketing calls for services related to this unfortunate event. By choosing to "opt out" I received 5 years of apparent "permission" to avoid being on this list and the immediate option to "print" a "PDF" certificate documenting my request. Perhaps this "opt out" option could be investigated and warrants further consideration by officials?

Sharing the link below:

www. optoutprescreen. com
1) Is this website safe?
2) Should consumers ensure they complete this additional step? Thanks everyone for the great information you shared! Shame on you Equiifax!!

The FTC has information about opting out: If you don't want to get prescreened offers of credit and insurance, you can choose to opt out of getting offers for five years, or opt out of getting  them permanently

To opt out for five years: Call toll-free 1-888-5-OPT-OUT (1-888-567-8688) or go to www.optoutprescreen.com. The phone number and website are operated by the major consumer reporting companies.

To opt out permanently: Go to www.optoutprescreen.com to start the opt-out process. To complete your request, you must return the signed Permanent Opt-Out Election form, which will be provided after you start your request online. 

I feel totally uncomfortable giving Equifax all my information in order to get one year of protection from Equifax not protecting my personal information. Totally. Why do people trust the website at all?

What's frightening as well is that nothing has been done to secure annualcreditreport.com or any of the other credit report furninshing agencies. The scum that hacked into Equifax have everything they need to access your credit reports through annualcreditreport.com or any fee based agency. Once they obtain your report they will have all your credit history and account #'s as well. All they ask for is SS#, DOB, & address. We are screwed.

I finally got my "Equifax TrustedIDPremier" account. It is still not fully functional though, and can take up to 48 hours. That E-mail ironically happened was while I was on the phone (888 548-7878) with Equifax for 1.5 hours and they still didn't answer yet.

Now the account is there but not functioning, note:

" Status: An error has occurred
Please contact customer support. "

Are they kidding? It shows no credit lock even though I initiated one through Experian and TransUnion's TrueIdentity.

If you were affected by the Equifax breach, you could: 

  • Place a credit freeze to stop anyone from opening new credit in your name
  • Place a fraud alert so a business has to verify your identity  before opening new credit
  • Get free credit monitoring. Go to Equifax’s website, www.equifaxsecurity2017.com for information about that

A credit reporting company might offer several different products and services on its website. Look for the product or service that meets your needs.

Bridget, please read my entry just before yours regarding your last bullet item and TrustedID Premier. Did anyone in the FTC actually follow your steps (which generally is good advice) that is also affected by the Equifax blunder?

I re-read your comment. I can't speak for what FTC staff have done.

I’m not spending a dime on any of these “protection” measures. It’s such BS. If I find accounts opened or charges made that aren’t mine, I’m simply not paying for them. I’ll dispute anything that isn’t legitimate, and it’s up to the credit providers to prove the charges or new accounts are really mine (which of course will be impossible). You’re foolish if you go out and spend your money on monitoring services due to this breach — you’re playing right into their “pockets. “

seems like you can get a better answer if you ask your magic 8 ball.

will a security freeze make it difficult to use an existing credit card for on line purchases?

The security freeze freezes your credit report (the report that has information about where you live, how you pay your bills, and whether you’ve been sued or arrested, or have filed for bankruptcy). The security freeze does not freeze your existing credit cards.

If you put a security freeze (which might be called a credit freeze) on your credit report, it makes it hard for identity thieves to open new credit in your name. That's because when there's a freeze on your credit report, people who give credit can't see your report, and they probably won't give new credit.

Equifax's link to complete registration does not work. Repeated calls to Equifax only results in our servers are broken. They have no idea when they'll be able to tell me if I'm affected. This is unacceptable and one would think the FTC could turn up tbe heat on Equifax.

I froze everything ASAP - and now I am slowly replacing my credit cards with new ones with new numbers...

If you click to find out if you have been effected, you're asked for personal information.

Well don't try calling them about inaccurate info, after 12 hours you are on hold,

I am not about to enter SS number and personal information on a paper form and trust the USPS or Equifax with that information just to get an on-line credit report from Equifax that Experian handled immediately. Equifax should be fined billions of dollars and banned from collecting information on anyone in the world other than North Korea.

I also check my information when my bank sent me their email, and my name was on the list of ID stolen. This is the second time my ID has been hacked. Once at OPM and now. And equifax have been giving me so much bad score, I wonder if they are correct.

I want to know WHY EQUIFAX is NOT notifying individuals that they have been breached; and if they are why is it taking so long? Why are we expected to do the legwork for them?

My husband and I received credit reports from Experian. We then requested 90 day Initial Fraud Alerts. We then applied credit freezes at all 3 bureaus. As Oregonians the freezes EACH cost $10, totalling $40. Equifax was n/charge of course.

Additionally we contacted our homeowner insurance company and added a $10 annual identity theft endorsement covering $25,000 annually. When ID theft reported to police officially, then insurance assigns a case manager to help slog thru the problems -- even covering child care/elder care expenses if you have to hire someone to babysit while you take time to sort things out. Check with your insurance company if coverage included or an extra cost. Sounds almost as effective after the fact as paid ID monitoring company.

I have a fraud alert placed on my account from the fact that our info was accessed a year ago. Went to get a loan on our new truck this September and they cant process it because they need a phone number on file for Equifax to verify that it's us taking the loan out. (already had one.) They need us to call Equifax so we can get the loan processed and due to this security breach we have spent literally hours and hours and hours trying to get through. No one answers and when they do we get transferred again. We are at the point where we are desperate because we literally can't purchase this vehicle because they can't verify our identity! And my point is, in all this mess that Equifax has allowed to happen, which is in itself a disaster... they aren't even answering the phones so that those who have fraud alert set up can utilize it!!! We are one vehicle short because of their ineptitude and we can't buy it without getting our identity verified. This has been going on for 3 weeks.

After having compromised our data, they want us to believe we can trust them with monitoring it on all three agencies. That too Properly? Wasn't that their job to begin with? Keep our Data safe? I am not signing up with them. I always had another monitoring service. Will continue to keep a close eye on my credit and my accounts. Trust no one.

Equifax told me my file was compromised. Geve me TrustedID and then through software took it away because I now live overseas. I have a lifetime of US credit to protect and so do thousands of Americans overseas but Equifax has gone to great lengths to take their free product away from us.

I sent for my Equifax report. They claim my information doesn't match theirs. These fools want me to send them 2 pieces of ID to prove who I am. They want real personal stuff: a copy of my SS card or my W2 or pay stub with my whole SS number from category1 and a copy of my driver's license, house deed, pay stub or utility bill from category 2. They could really wipe me out with that kind of info!I am going to a higher authority on them. My mother didn't raise a fool!

This is a total SCAM!!!! I went to the Am I impacted Site and entered Schnikelfritz and 452344 and it said:
Thank You

Based on the information provided, we believe that your personal information may have been impacted by this incident.

Click the button below to continue your enrollment in TrustedID Premier.

They are not looking up anything. They just want the world to enroll in their Free Service. They just want to see how many people will pay after the free period ends!!!!

Call the news media, your states attorneys and your senators!!!!!!

Fine them and mail us information about the hack. It is their responsibility. They use our social security numbers illegally. Jail the criminals who sold their stock.

I am usually very careful about bogus calls etc. & not giving out info. & tonight I heard the end of a talk radio show about the breech and realized that I have given out more information recently! Last week I got a phone call, I answered a local number and they said my name & I replied yes, then they went on, this is an attempt to collect a debt. Naturally when I get that kind of call I'm listening bc there must be some kind of mistake. I was careful not to say anything but listen they said it was from 2011, from a dental service. I said sorry no way- then they asked if I
lived at a specific address, nope, sorry not me. I bung up thinking it was strange but at least I didn't give them any info but realized tonight that I did in fact give hem information. I got another call on Monday and I cannot for the life of me remember what it even was, again a local number and very brief as if it were just even the wrong number, but it was something else. Whatever it was it made me think about the call the previous week, about the debt collector. I isnt put it together until I heard the talk radio show tonight. Now I'm freaking out- who has time for this crap?

Why does Equifax even need to exist? Who gave them permission to collect all of this data about people? Why are they not better stewards of the information they collect? What do they do for me? Are they going to just get a slap on the wrist? They should be held liable for any fraud purchases and any extra charges that this breach may incur. I'm definitely not going to let THEM protect my info!

I haven't tried this yet but just reading halfway down the first page it sounds like I really don't want to. I don't think they have any idea who was impacted and who was not. Honestly you should probably go with that you were by what I have read so far. Scary the world we live in today.

I keep getting emails from @trustedid.com. Is that a scam or part of the Equifax system? too many scams out there to trust some other email.

I have been trying to sign on to equifaxsecurity2017 since 8Sep.Each time it say they are sending a email link, which never come except yesterday got one. I hit the link, was asked for my email, Bday, I did, continue, then asked for bday again, then said does not match. Called equifax CS and Milton said he would help me walk thru. Milton got me to a screen that said I was already complete registering, put email and password. Problem I never got a passowrd. I asked Milton. He said that is on of the equifax programing problems, cause your not registered. I think this is deliberate to prevent the people affected from ever finding out or delay and the Federal government is taking no action because their either stupid and dont know how to fix. Govt what good are they?

it is maddening, they exposed us , give bad reports, they are never accurate and now they send me to other web site, where they supposed to be given me information about if I have been affected, because my account is frozen, now they want to charge me to protect me? laughable to say the least.

Equifax facilitated the data breach affecting more than 140 million Americans and their follow-up actions are atrocious and unhelpful in serving citizens who's information was compromised. On 25 Sep, I went to their web page. To get questions answered (not in the FAQ list), I was sent to several different phone numbers which with did not connect or with people who told me they could not help. Finally found some useful info on other web sites. Submitted info to sign up for Trusted ID Premier. Response message was that we should wait for emails from Equifax. No emails, so called today, 29 Sept. Call center says they have no way to help, just be patient they have a lot of people seeking assistance, and then gave me a number for Trusted ID. Trusted ID says, sorry computers are down try again later. After complaining about Equifax ineptitude, suddenly they were able to find some info. They said that we could not be served by Trusted ID because we already have our own protection through another company. Even the Feds had no problem with our having our own protection following the OPM debacle a few years ago and gave us coverage through the system they set up. The credit reporting bureaus are all atrocious, their data bases are replete with errors they will not correct, and they should be shut down and replaced with responsible and accountable businesses. Equifax is a a clear case of a non-responsive, non-functioning, unreliable and reprehensible company that should be shut down. Write the FTC and your Congressional reps and demand they take action against Equifax specifically and the three bureaus in general to protect citizens from the egregious performance and actions of these companies.

want to see if my identity information was breached

This is the Federal Trade Commission blog. The FTC doesn't have information about whether your credit report was compromised. Read about the Equifax Data breach and what you can do.

To find out if your information was exposed, you can go to Equifax’s website, www.equifaxsecurity2017.com. (This link takes you away from our site. Equifaxsecurity2017.com is not controlled by the FTC.)

On that website, click on the “Potential Impact” tab. Enter your last name and the last six digits of your Social Security number.

 

How do people who are not online find out if their information's been exposed? The only computer I can use is the public library, and I don't feel comfortable putting ID info on there.

Thank you in advance for any help.

Equifax says it will tell people if their information "may have been impacted."

Equifax says it will provide every person (whether or not their information may have been impacted) with the option to enroll in free monitoring of their credit files. They ask people to enroll online, but also list this call center number: 866-447-7559.

If you want to put a credit freeze on your credit reports, to stop anyone from opening new accounts, you can call the three nationwide credit reporting companies at these numbers:

Read about credit report freezes.

If a corporation can't be shut down for something this egregious, what can they be shut down for? Please tell me the FTC is planning to shut down Equifax for this.

Says I am a victim. Entered data on TrustedID Premier site that it takes you to. Clicked CONTINUE at the bottom. Nothing happens. Guess website overloaded?!? Cannot believe they can get away with this; i.e., a breach reported LATE, and now are not handling the web or phone traffic to handle the issue.

Hey, FTC! Are you even aware that the Equifax website isn't working? You can't get a credit report. You can't put a credit freeze on your credit report. You can't find out if you are impacted. How about some action from you guys!

I have been paying Equifax $29.99 per month for the "Family Plan" to protect my id with $1 million of coverage for a long time now. Unfortunately, I have been trying to log into their website to check my account for over a week now, especially now that I have received an email stating that there has been a change to one of my accounts. The website times out and says to try back at another time. So, I finally call and reach someone at Equifax Customer Support tonight and tell them I have been paying for this coverage and that I want to verify that I am still covered for the $1 million coverage and--get this--they hang up on me! I sure hope the FTC, Consumer Protection, etc. take action soon. This is not right.

Okay after reading all this. I understand why Wells Fargo is making me use a Captcha to log in and register my device then sending a code to my phone to log on. Another way to protect your money is daily monitoring of your accounts. Plus we bought a fire proof floor safe to keep our valuables and savings in. No more savings accounts at banks.

I followed FTC activity for several decades now and it is a useless, inept institution. Hackers, spammers, and intruders are aware of this, it being laughable as well as very, very sad. It advocates placing your SSN and BD into a form that is accessible by any hacker. Your SSN is between YOU and the SSA ONLY. PERIOD. The FTC has yet to catch on and is the reason why we are here. The United States lacks intelligence in its ability to govern and manage placing a burden on the Citizens. Obviously, since this has been going on for decades, the Citizens haven't caught on either. So here we are. Kind regards,

I am no computer expert, but by entering six digits of your nine digit SS number aren’t you leading the crooks straight to you? I have a very uncommon name so all they would have to do is figure out what year I was born in and add those three numbers. On the phone call side of things I have suddenly been barraged with with a company wanting to help me pay off student loans. First I am on the do not call list, I block them every time they call, but they just keep calling back and third our student loan was paid in full thirty two years ago. The Donald needs to find a better way of helping us because clearly this is not working.

Yes! I recently learned that if you share your birthday (even approximate) and where you were born (or still live in that town) then also sharing even just the last four digits can give smart crooks all they need to get the whole thing. Asking for six digits raised a red flag to me and after reading a lot of the comments here I am glad I hesitated!

I have tried many times to get the year protection from Equifax and when I get to the point I am shut down and told to try again in 2 to 3 hours.

I got the vague equifax message, like, "may have been ". I signed up. Gee think this is all a scam. If u freeze credit reports, u have to pay to go back and forth. More $ out of our pockets and to companies bet tgere is a kick back to the actual big 3. Should we just hand them the money before a hack?

It claims my data was impacted and my husband’s was not. All our accounts are joint except for a couple of department store cards. How could that be?

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