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, (This link takes you away from our site. 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 Accounts or activity that you don’t recognize could indicate identity theft. Visit 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 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.




Security breaches are not the only problems at EQ. They do not correct errors in credit reports. I have a 20 year old mortgage that has been paid on time every month. It’s recorded correctly with both TU and EX, but EQ lists it as closed, with a zero balance, little other information except to say it was part of a bankruptcy. They also list as one of my negative factors ... insufficient information on mortgages. I’ve tried for a year to get them to correct this error, even sent them copies of my mortgage statements. The mortgage company assures me they have reported the same information to EQ as to the other two. EQ says it is the mortgage company’s fault because they have no power over how that information gets reported. This is not the only serious error on my EQ report that has gone uncorrected. Errors involving 15 other companies and, yes, EQ has said it’s all the other companies faults because they (EQ) have no control over the data reporting process.

Now this morning, I downloaded a copy of the EQ 3-bureau credit report. The FICO score for EQ matches the score I get when I check on However, there are substantial differences in the scores for the other two bureaus, to the tune of 37 and 42 points. I’m left wondering whether EQ is selling me a seriously defective product or if myFico is the culprit.

Many insurance companies use data supplied by Equifax to LexisNexis in order to "score" the risk you present as an insured. They compare your credit information against other people of similar information to "calculate" what level of risk you are for making a claim!! So now we have two whammies. Not only could I be paying higher insurance premiums based upon someone else's history I've been compared to, I could be paying higher insurance due to the security breach. Just the number of "consumer initiated inquires" by would-be identity thieves is enough to get a lower "insurance score" resulting in higher premiums. Might want to check your "score" and COMPLAIN to your state's Insurance Commissioner and representatives to start. The whole premise behind this "scoring" is seriously flawed and is now compounded by this security breach!

just trying to find out why my visa credit card is no longer valid, keeps getting declined. called visa, they have no idea, said to contact Experian?? I've never been late nor do I owe any moneys on the card. what is going on?????

It is an insult to the injury to have Equifax now demand that I pay $10 on my credit card to freeze my accounts with them.

My information was compromised. They tried to buy a car, a cell phone and amx and wells fargo credit cards so far, all online. So far they have not been approved and was treated as suspicious activity and reported. I entered my info here too and it did say I was compromised. I have to put a freeze on my credit and inform everyone they hit!

Thanks for the great information. You have done it very succinctly.

I wish it was possible to opt out of credit reporting all together! I don't use credit why is my information stored there. We need to take a page out of the EU General Data Protection Regulation.

Equifax and other credit bureaus stand to make money and are profitable AFTER a credit breach. They all sell their services AFTER a YEAR FREE of using them... This is currently in legislation and hopefully the laws will be rewritten to change this travesty..

its their fault, they know who was breached.. They should have notified all invoived.. Let the goverment start class action..

In Sept. 2017 I did as instructed to enroll with Equifax. I was told I would be notified by email to complete the process. I never heard any more.

Received a letter from my Credit Union -stating that because of the Equifax data breach -i qualify for a free credit monitoring service. i attempted to enroll -and provide all kinds of personal information-at the end they wanted to charge me $39.95 per month - SO BOGUS!! These companies should be prosecuted.

So I now receive a letter wanting me to sign up for Eqifax protect when they have already failed me. They only want us to do this to waive rights against claiming off them. Why should I trust them with even more information. I'll wait for the claims to start and then get my compensation.

The FTC should check the connection between Equifax and Navy Federal Credit Union. Might shock you,

Equifax negligently lost all of my credit information and wants to pretend it wasn't their fault. They are responsible and should make us all whole as long as the executives have a dime to their name. Congress you need to take action and quickly to prosecute these bums!

I think that every company offering credit should stop using Equifax. Every company providing customer data to Equifax should stop supplying data. That would eliminate the Equifax problem. The incompetence of the bozos managing Equifax is unforgivable. The supervision of the IT security staff is unforgivable. 145 million Americans deserve that Equifax disappears as a warning the the other two.

Equifax is a criminal. If Equifax were to be a person, they would be in jail. But our consumer PROTECTION agencies like FTC, CFPB or another agency won't do anything about it. In fact, new cfpb director, who probably lives on industry's money, just ordered to stop investigating Equifax. What they may not realize is that their own and their family and friends personal information is also compromised as part of this breach. They are allowing Equifax to get away with stupid one year free credit monitoring service, which ended Jan 31st 2018. Equifax is still in business after compromising lives of hundreds of million people. Sad!!

If you think Equifax's offer to give one year of free credit monitoring/alerts/freeze service is great way for people to prevent fraud, think again! For hundreds of millions who had their ssn and most personal information stolen from Equifax, his information is valid as long as we live. Fraudsters are not limited to using your personal information just in the first year. SSN and personal information could be sold or used by whoever stole it, anytime, even 10 years from now. Using your stolen information, fraudsters can defraud you 5, 10, or 20 years from now.

Equifax and other credit bureaus (and other credit monitoring companies) will be laughing all the way to the bank for years to come. Because, this Equifax-caused breach has created a massive future market for their monitoring services, as people had to perpetually watch and control their credit files during all their life time. So, one-year free monitoring is just an eye wash! After that they will make more money out of your fear.

Any American with a social security number is a potential target, whether or not you've got open credit.

Can FTC or law makers take real action to protect American people in such case? Credit bureaus need to be regulated to prevent such case from happening again, and Equifax needs to pay for its mistake!

NOBODY, absolutely no one should be trusted with so much information. Why is Equifax still allowed to be in business? I won’t even access their site for future credit report inquiries. They cannot be trusted, plain and simple.

I think this company should pay for every person to get a new 12 digit SS number. Software implementation and delivery. This new number should be alpha numeric not just numeric.

Equifax refuses to submit free copy of annual credit report when client refuses to place copy of ID in mail. They need to be shut down.


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