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

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!

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!

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