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 you try to sign up for the fraud protection they ask you to put all your personal info on line including ss#. This is crazy, why would I do that, esp after this breach. I decided to go for a security freeze on all my accts. Again they want me to put sensitive info on line. I try to call them to freeze over the phone and there is no phone number to do this, only a # to get info. so they take my number and say someone will get back to you. And what am I supposed to do with my life, sit by the phone to be sure I will be avail when and if they call. I will call the FTC to inform them of the difficulties this company is causing consumers.

We should find out how to start a class action lawsuit against Equifax. This Breach is very serious. If any of you know a legal way we can fight back to make sure companies that we give our personal info to will do everything possible to prevent hackers and others who want to do us harm.

Nothing happens when I hit continue either. Except it removes the green check that I'm not a robot.

I "tried" a few different names and numbers.. They all said I may be affected and to enroll!!! Either i'm a phenomenal guesser, or this is a scam!

SAME WITH ME, WHEN I PRESS "CONTINUE" A RED CIRCLE WITH A SLASH THROUGH IT APPEARS, NOT ALLOWING ME TO GO FURTHER.

Totally agree. I keep trying morning, noon and night and it does not let me "continue". I called and they said I had to keep trying. What a fraud

I went to run my free annual credit reports as suggested in this article, and after entering all of my info, it came up that they can't process my request because they are so busy from the equifax breach..

I think this is just a big scam by equifax. If you put in a fake name and random 6 numbers it works and sends you to enroll in their safety program. IF you enroll in that, you are probably more susceptible to fraud! It is a stock market game and they are using the FEAR of the public to win. Don't fall for it!!

Finally reached Equifax after >20 attempts and hours on hold. Representative hung up on me after I explained I wanted to place a credit freeze on my account. They are just bullies and I hope all consumers and merchants refuse to let them off the hook for the irresponsible and careless handling of vital personal data.

Same thing with me - will not continue enrollment and no other option or date provided! What a way to run a business? Customer Service gets a failing grade!

I am having the same problem. I was instructed to sign up on 9/15 got to the portion you mention and could not proceed. I called Equifax the call center staff told me to keep trying, suggested I attempt in the very early or late hours of the day. Since that didn't work I called again today. The first person I spoke to told me the same thing, I ask to speak to a supervisor. The most recent update on the website states the call center should be able to help you enroll in their surveillance program but the call center staff say the only way to do it is online. So far I've been on hold for 20 minutes, suspect I may be on eternal hold.

Their website credit freeze suck. I did it and it does not give me pin. I guess someone should file a suit against them for braching the trust and on top of it providing horrible experience of not providing a PIN after the placement of freeze.

I have filled out the response form three times but when I press "continue" I get no response

I had this problem repeatedly when trying to sign in on my tablet. I am not a Robot verified I selected the correct pictures but just would not proceed when I clicked continue. Then I tried signing in on my laptop and got through immediately.

I just looked up TrustID Premier on BBC.. Company in
Lk Oswego, OR. Got B- Rating, Company in Palo Alto, CA got NO rating at all. Like that leads to more confidence in EQUIFAX! Not.

Citizens should sue credit bureau and govt which created this stupid system of control.

Look up your local Equifax office or call the number of Equifax 866-447-7559 to get info. If you want to place a freeze on your Equifax acct. try this web site
www. freeze. equifax. com you should be able to freeze your credit with equifax and be sure to copy down the pin number (super important....!!!! )

I filled out all the appropriate info., but nothing happens when I press the continue prompt under the paragraph of terms and conditions. I want a freeze put on my account

Equifax offers one year of credit monitoring. After a year you must pay for this service so the company will end up profiting from the Data Breach. Imagine 143 million victims paying them a fee to "monitor their credit info". A company that takes 6 months to let you know it's been hacked. In one month you can lose everything to identity theft by these hackers.

Why enter the 6 digits of my ss#? Can't they use the last 4 and cross reference that with my name? Totally suspect...

Where can a complaint be sent? I’ve followed the instructions at least 3 times and can never complete the process to sign up for credit monitoring. I get “system not available”. I call the 800 # and they just tell me to star over. I’m in an endless loop.

You can report a problem to the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Help how do I look if my social was taken I can't find the place the link doesn't take me there

You can go to www.equifaxsecurity2017.com to see if your personal information might have been exposed when hackers breached Equifax files.

If your information was exposed in the breach, go to Identitytheft.gov/databreach to learn about protecting yourself.

Useless information. Equifax failed to protect consumers and their "free TrustedId" monitoring comes with no way to opt out of marketing for that year. No thank you. Time to call a laywer. Unfortunate that the FTC is not doing their job and fining Equifax for their failure to inform consumers of the breech that happened in May-July until September. Where is my notice of a breech? Certainly they have my address they are a credit bureau. The FTC needs to step up or shut down.

until you have a loss calling a lawyer will not go well and if a lawyer does act they are probably someone you should be avoiding. it generally takes some time to determine what information has been compromised and a this is a pretty quick turnaround. as for getting a notification - um you did clearly. 143 million people were affected which is half of the us population. no one would expect each person to get a letter. duh -

they send letters all the time and this would have been the best time to get the information out! I for one would think that with all the money they pulled out of stocks could have been used for stamps.DUH-

Of course we have a right to expect that each person would get a letter! They've made a ton of money off of use for years, and they should have done something about this breach when it first happened. I don't care if it costs $70 million to reach us, it needs to be done. Fines? Most definitely! They should be put out of business with the fines they will have to pay. This is beyond inexcusable.

There are already AT LEAST 2 class action lawsuits going. And yes, I expect to get a letter...I don't care if they have to mail out 143 MILLION. Their screw up, so they need to find a way.

The US government sent a letter to every taxpayer in 2001 to tell them that the checks they promised them would be arriving late, and then they later sent checks to every taxpayer. So yea, it is entirely feasible to send a letter to 143 million people.

Do you even understand the concept's of "emotional distress" and "punitive damages".

I am praying there is a class action suit!!!

How about praying that you don't get your identity lost instead. What is wrong with people?

Agree!! I'd for sure rather not have my identity stolen than to have it stolen and be able to join the class action suit!!!

DP, you mean STOLEN, right? I think the FTC should put Equifax out of business, and the insiders who stole their stock before advising us of this fiasco should be on trial for what was clearly insider trading.

Here's what will happen with a class action suit--the lawyers will get awarded millions of dollars for "expenses," while we consumers will get...a $5 voucher towards buying Equifax's credit monitoring service!

I've been involved in class action law suits before, and the only ones who make any money is the law firms. I remember on one suit my final check was $1.34. If there is any justice we who are impacted should each get thousands, but that money will go to the lawyers.

Class action law suit?! You get your $20 and the lawyers get their $200,000,000!

I agree with you.For over 5 months they knew they had a credit breach.

And, when you sign up for the free credit monitoring, you have to check a effectively indemnifying equifax? No thank you. Would rather be a party to the class action suit against them.

And it's also peculiar timing that executives at this company sold off shares of their stock before this story broke.

Surprized that this web site doesnt address the class action law suit. Why in the world would one sign up for the free credit monitoring???? You indeed waive your right! I will sue!

Not only that, you waive your rights to participate in any class action lawsuit

No, you don't waive your right to participate in a lawsuit. Government made them remove that. The lawsuit has to be about the security breach, but not about the 1 year of credit monitoring.

Hey...FTC is on our side.

Well said, Pickles. I agree.

I couldn't agree more! Your spot on!

If you went to the website and entered your name and those 6 digits of your social security number, yo've given up your opportunity to be part of the class action suit against Exquifax. It's in the terms and conditions that no one ever reads. By hitting "submit" you have agreed to everything in Equifax'S terms and conditions.

They debunked this in a thread above. And check the FAQ on Equifax's website. It now states under equifaxsecurity2017.com / frequently-asked-questions / "To confirm, enrolling in the free credit file monitoring and identity theft protection products that we are offering as part of this cybersecurity incident does not prohibit consumers from taking legal action. We have already removed that language from the Terms of Use on the site equifaxsecurity2017.com. The Terms of Use on www. equifax.com do not apply to the TrustedID Premier product being offered to consumers as a result of the cybersecurity incident. Again, to be as clear as possible, we will not apply any arbitration clause or class action waiver against consumers for claims related to the free products offered in response to the cybersecurity incident or for claims related to the cybersecurity incident itself."

That's not true. There are no "terms and conditions" to agree to on that page. You would have to actually agree to terms and conditions for that to happen. Thanks for playing

Care to copy and paste the terms stating that?

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