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 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?

You and your spouse might have joint accounts for credit cards, a car or mortgage, but you have individual identities, social security numbers, names, birthdays and individual credit reports.

 

Your credit report includes all those details, plus information about where you have lived, accounts you have had, how you have paid your bills, and whether you’ve been sued or have filed for bankruptcy. If a thief gets your personal information, or your spouse's, and you don't have a freeze on the credit report, the thief could open new accounts in that name. Read more about Credit Freezes.

Bridget,

Thanks for the link. One note, not sure why that FTC site does not tell you if you are a victim of identity theft, (Equifax positive test) there is no charge to freeze or unfreeze, for all the CRAs. .

If your information has been lost, stolen or exposed in a data breach, you aren't an identity theft victim. There's a greater risk you could become an ID theft victim, but you aren't a victim, unless someone does something with your information.

If  someone used your information, for example to file a tax return, or get a credit card or a job, you would be an identity theft victim. If that happened, you'd report the theft, and be entitled to free credit freezes.

We live in Washington Stare, a community property state. All our accounts are joint. I did a credit freeze and a fraud alert for all 3 major agencies. Do I have to do separate ones for my wife?

You and your spouse might have joint accounts for credit cards, a car or mortgage, but you each have your own identity, social security number, name, birthday and credit report.

 

Your credit report includes all those details, plus information about where you have lived, accounts you have had, how you have paid your bills, and whether you’ve been sued or have filed for bankruptcy. If a thief gets your personal information, or your spouse's, and you don't have a freeze on the credit report, the thief could open new accounts in that name. Read more about Credit Freezes.

I signed up for the 1 year free TrustedID from Equifax and started to get a ton of marketing emails. They use our information for marketing purposes!!

From their privacy policy: "We will retain your information for marketing purposes while you have an active account with us and for up to two years after your account is no longer active"

So, they lose our private info, offer TrustedID as a remedy to protect us, and then use our email addresses to profit from by sending marketing emails! Wow! What a SCAM!

what a crock! rip credit outfits want to sell you monitoring at twice the price you can get it elsewhere. Then if you cancel the monitoring they unlock your credit report. So you have to lock it again at a fee, what is this a MOB protection racket hey lets have less regulation on the mobsters.

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.

It figures that the boneheads in Congress will do nothing about this. They are too busy passing tax breaks for themselves and their rich cronies - like the moron who screwed this up.

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.

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