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

So, I checked Equifax and got a response the I "may" have had a breach. I was led to another webiste to fill in info only to find I may have to waive my rights to a law suit to recover any damages etc. This is B.S. How do I legitimately find out what and who has had access to my identity?

Be Aware!!!!
I added a fraud alert to my credit reports and my credit rating dropped 10 points almost immediately.

I would like to know what the FTC is doing to help......instead of referring us to the people who have proven that they can't protect us?

As you think about what to do, you may want to read the FTC articles about credit freezes, extended fraud alerts, or getting your free credit report.  You'll find a list of steps for people affected by the Equifax breach on IdentityTheft.gov (scroll down to the tab for Equifax). If you have questions about helping a child under 18 whose Social Security number may have been affected, the Child Identity Theft article will help.

Bridget, is anyone at the FTC reading these consistent complaints and real concerns, challenging and fining Equifax to get their system working? None of what Equifax has done here is right, and the FTC, and our lawmakers should be doing something to help us. Indeed, all consumers should have a right to opt-out of Equifax's system, other wise there is no penalty or pain for them to correct anything.
What is the FTC doing to prompt Equifax to correct and service this situation?

Yes, staff review all comments before they are posted. This is a moderated blog. The FTC is providing information and helping people through activities including online blogs and articles, responding to blog comments, taking consumer reports at ftc.gov/complaint, assisting identity theft victims at identitytheft.gov and breach victims at when information is lost or stolen.

Tried my husband and my ss no tonight. Equifax said we werent on breached list. Tried to sign up for monitoring. Suppised to receive text and email. Still nothing. Is this all a scam or hoax?

Equifax said that whether or not your information was exposed, U.S. consumers can get a year of free credit monitoring and other services.

this is all very confusing.
i read all your comments and it seems like we're damned if we do, and damned if we don't!

I find it remarkable that Equifax allowed the breach, then wants you to enroll in a protection plan that lasts only 1 year, and then asks for sensitive information such as a SSN and other data. Here we are giving up sensitive information to the same outfit that compromised the same information to begin with!!!

I never liked having to go in debt just to keep these 3 companies happy so I could get a car loan. Maybe this is the end to all this madness forced on the public.

Always Check

I just tried to put on a credit freeze and they said your state charges $5.00 for this service. This means you not only give them your SS#, address, you now have to give them you credit card number and security code. Guess I will take my chances. They probably already have this information but I certainly don’t feel like updating it for them.

The data warehouse was sold and then reported as theft for the purpose of selling more services. Win Win. This org can't be trusted along with so many others and we have no control. Welcome to the New Underworld Order.

WATCHING C-SPAN 3 LIVE -EXECS SOLD THEIR SHARES AFTER THE BREACH, BUT BEFORE NOTIFYING THE GENERAL PUBLIC. NO SEC VIOLATION THERE.

The site is apparently down. When I go to www.equifaxsecurity2017.com, it says the site can't be reached.

I won't put my last 6 digits of my ssn on the equifax website. It does not take a genius to figure out what the first 3 digits are by state and age!

I sent a written request to Equifax 9/15 along with a copy of driver's license, ssn and other required info asking if I was part of the breach and asked about the credit monitoring-- NO RESPONSE! I tried to put a freeze on via phone. My husband was accepted- they said they could not dop mine. I tried again a few days later and they said I already had a freeze and asked for my PIN. My husband got a PIN but I did not. Any suggestions?? You cannot get a person to answer a phone line. I thought the law said a company had to notify you w/i 30 days of the date your info was compromised? SO FRUSTRATED!~

Thanks for alerting me. I need the the credit freeze

Check if I am affected.

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 words “Am I Impacted.” That takes you to a page where you can enter your last name and the last six digits of your Social Security number and get more information.

Personally, I think that Equifax's intentional and willful disregard for protecting our information should get them permanently banned from credit reporting or any access to credit information. The entire company should be shut down.

Used Equifax site had me enter my social but it didn't encrypt it. Doesn't leave me with good feelings.

My Equifax credit score is 150 points lower then my other scores since using TrustedID. They keep flagging my mortgage company as "negative". My mortgage is fine and all payments are current. UGH!!! They need to fix their mess.

You can dispute errors on your credit report. Under federal law,  both the credit reporting company and the information provider (that is, the person, company, or organization that provides information about you to a credit reporting company) are responsible for correcting inaccurate or incomplete information in your report. This FTC article explains how to dispute errors.

Equifax should be replaced, they are the worst at reporting, they take forever to fix obvious wrong information,they have bad customer service, they are vulnerable to hackers because they don't know how to do business. If there is a lawsuit for their incompetence am in.

I went into the initial page of Experian asking me to verify if my name/address may be compromised. just as I finished verifying I received an Error Information "group 11" and was asked to close this account. When I try to get back, it says I already viewed by report and I cannot see it. Suggestions?

great information

I NEVER ASKED THIS ORG TO HOUSE MY IDENTITY AND THEY DIDN'T SECURE IT. NOW I HAVE TO PAY TO PROTECT IT. SERVICE SHOULD BE FREE AND I SHOULD BE ABLE TO LOCK AND UNLOCK WHEN NEEDED. NOW I GET FREE PRODUCT FOR 1 YEAR, BUT WATCH US ALL BECOME VICTIMS AFTER THAT 1ST YEAR IS UP IF WE DON'T PAY. SOUNDS LIKE A RANSOM TO ME. THIS ORG SHOULD BE SHUT DOWN AND EXECS CHARGED WITH THEFT OF IDENTITY INCLUDING SEC VIOLATIONS FOR SELLING THEIR SHARES BEFORE THEY WENT PUBLIC WITH THIS INCIDENT.

where is the potential impact tab

Right now, the words "Am I impacted" are near the top of the web page. If you click on those words, you'll go to a page that lets you check.

I've been trying to find out if my accounts were used, but all I can do is ask for the free year - it won't show me any information!

Got a call on an untraceable 800 number from someone wanting to offer me lower interest on my credit cards due to my great credit rating and the fact that I always pay the balance off quickly. They mentioned Equifax, as if they were a representative. So fishy! I offered no information and could not discern what they wanted so I just said no thanks and hung up. The guy sounded Russian or Slavic. Should I be worried?

@ Concerned... Worried? No... But, they DO sound like a scam... If in doubt, do without. Block their phone # from calling you.

Why is when I tried to pull all three credit reports, (something I only do every 2-3 years) each one worked fine to download as a .pdf, EXCEPT the one agency (Equifax) too stupid to hire a team of talented 24/7 Pen Testers? Target did the same thing, since then, Pen Tester's.

As a rule, I HATE laws and regulation, but we are all forced to allow these companies to have our private data. They should be required to have proper security.

Nothing is safe and there is no such thing as being unable to breach.

Which is why live, compartmentalized Pen Testers should be hired.

Tried to enroll in the Equifax "fix"... submitted everything required; then received an email with a link to "complete" the sign-up process; have been trying to access the link for about two weeks now. I realize that they probably can't do much more damage but they sure must either be trying OR they are more inefficient than anyone can imagine.

So why has no one protested outside of their headquarters? It's not hard to find on Google.

If you see "Equifax" on a resume, do not hire that person. We are all not entirely powerless. If you find out someone worked at Equifax, get rid of them immediately. Do not provide them professional references or letters of recommendation.

I have always believed it is outrageous that credit agencies have all my information, in spite of the fact that I have never given it to them. They actually profit from it. Any used car dealer has access to a credit report, but we are charged if we want one for ourselves!

You can get your credit report for free. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires each of the nationwide credit reporting companies — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — to provide you with a free copy of your credit report, at your request, once every 12 months. Learn how to get your free credit reports.

Suggest that this "free once every 12 months" be changed to whenever you want it, since ALOT of damage can be done in 12 months. Someone needs to make EQUIFAX accountable. They should (1) identify whose information was stolen and (2) provide LIFETIME protection, fraud alerts and free credit report copies to those who were affected. I understand that Equifax still doesn't even know whose information was stolen. How unsettling is that?

You can get a free credit report in other situations.

Under federal law, you’re entitled to a free report if a company takes adverse action against you, such as denying your application for credit, insurance, or employment, and you ask for your report within 60 days of receiving notice of the action. The notice will give you the name, address, and phone number of the credit reporting company. You’re also entitled to one free report a year if you’re unemployed and plan to look for a job within 60 days; if you’re on welfare; or if your report is inaccurate because of fraud, including identity theft. Otherwise, a credit reporting company may charge you a reasonable amount for another copy of your report within a 12-month period.

Equifax should be replaced, they are the worst at reporting, they take forever to fix obvious wrong information,they have bad customer service, they are vulnerable to hackers because they don't know how to do business. If there is a lawsuit for their incompetence am in.

Everyone out there should get off the grid!, Its the only safe way. No# 45 is making all bad things come to life. Its real y'all. Pay attention!

I an traveling outside the USA. I just accessed www. equifaxsecurity2017. com/ am-i-impacted/ and clicked to start procedure to check. Got error message: The Amazon CloudFront distribution is configured to block access from your country. Called Equifax 866-447-7559. First agent said "Only for USA consumers". I said: What! Equifax does NOT permit me to travel?? Agent went to check and returned and apologized, said they are working to enable. I told him BUT I know a friend with me here did access this site a week ago. He said: Yes, was possible but somebody changed it, now we need again to re-enable. So - Equifax keep making mistakes...

Checked the Equifax link and it said I was impacted. Have been trying since Sept. 13th to enroll in their credit monitoring with no success. I have checked my spam and junk mail folders and nothing there. Have tried calling Equifax and after many, many redials was put on hold for over an hour and a half and finally gave up.

I got this when I checked for potential impact: "Based on the information provided, we believe that your personal information was not impacted by this incident."
Do I need to do anything further? Can I trust their data protection offer?

Your website, email contact, phone contact are all horrible! One is sent from one email to another, to another phone number to another website and there is never a human being to talk to!!! It is absolutely the WORST customer service. I just spent over two hours to finally get a person!!!!!

Just who authorized these three Credit Companies to gather my financial information to put in their computer? I certainly did not. So, does this constitute stealing my intangible assets by these three credit companies? If so, they are liable for all my losses if they ALLOW hackers to steal my personal information from their computers. Also, I like to see a LAW enacted to prevent any company to take my personal information without my specific written permission. That surely will put these credit companies out of business and NO HACKERS will be able to hack in to steal 143 million accounts from them any more.

'Just so you know, the "free" credit monitoring they are offering is a joke. The process is lengthy, convoluted, and designed to get the consumer to give up before completing the process. Waited on the e-mail, filled out all the stuff on the website, FAIL, you must call this number, call number, spend 15min provideing same info entered in website, then they want me to tell them what DAY I opened I obtained a credit card that was cancelled and closed yrs ago!!! Oh you can't remember? well we can't enroll you so sorry! It's a big public relations scam, "Well we offered free monitoring but they didn't want it"......total scam!!!

So, let me get this straight, as others have clearly pointed out Equifax has our personal information and that information has potentially been acquired by nefarious hackers through a security breach. Equifax's wonderful "solution" to this problem is to offer those some, potentially compromised consumers a free one-year enrollment in their identity-theft protection. Which, after the one-year period, would involved an on-going charge. As has been pointed out by many, this is completely wrong. But, what bothers me even more is that their incompetence and lack of care will potentially cause us harm. They possess our personal information and have been careless in their stewardship and now it is OUR responsibility to take all the actions that the FTC and Equifax are outlining. OUR responsibility? Forgive me, if I harm or potentially harm another, it would seem that the responsibility lies with me. Why, in this situation, do they not bear the responsibility to make it right? I have to freeze my accounts? I have to continuously check my credit reports? I have to subscribe to their service? I have to pay fees to unfreeze credit and to continue their service? All of the responsibility for their incompetence is placed in our laps. Why are they not PAYING us for their lack of care, lack of security, and negligence? Yes, FTC-spokesperson, I understand that ultimately I am responsible for my identity and, yes, I understand that in applying for credit - (unfortunately, a very necessary EVIL in the modern world) - I have "given permission" for their credit reporting agencies to "possess" my information. But, still, I am to responsible for their incompetence? They are still MY possessions - not theirs! THEY HAVE DONE THE DAMAGE, not me! And so I ask you, should not THEY bear the complete burden to make it right? I am OUTRAGED!

As far as I'm concerned, Equifax should extend credit monitoring (FOR FREE) for life for those affected. Social security numbers & driver license numbers last a life time.

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