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

There are no 'terms & conditions' on the initial part where you simply enter your last name and the six last SSN digits - it is on the next part where you enter your name and ALL of your SSN. And that page does not have secured emblem on it.

I agree-should have protected our data. But I don't mind getting some marketing mail if it means they r protecting my credit. Equifax told me letters r going out to consumers now explaining how they have been impacted and what to do. They've had the forensic guys in doing their thing to determine what exactly was taken.

No company should get away with these kinds of breaches of privacy. Shut Equifax down. Congress apparently values special interest money over privacy, as their recent and unpopular overturning of internet privacy regulations demonstrates. FTC needs to step up. Challenge the other branches of government. Prevent companies from housing personal data for more than a reasonable time, from requiring consumers provide personal data irrelevant to services offered, and from concealing what information is being collected or hiding it in small print. And companies that can't protect personal information they house ought to be shut down, broken up into smaller companies, or severely penalized. This trend will continue otherwise. FTC, be aggressive for privacy. I want to see Congress suing you for pushing the envelope. We're counting on you.

Completely agree! Where is my notice of a breach? Certainly they have my address.

The FTC is so consumed in their Trump Derangement Syndrome that they can't stop long enough to do their jobs, as if they ever did. Still waiting on my breech letter too.

Can you say class action lawsuit?

Only problem with class action is the only people to get money is the lawyers

Not only that! If you sign up for it you give up the rights to participate in any lawsuit even if your info was stolen and scammers later impersonate you. DO NOT SIGN UP FOR THAT. There are many ways you could monitor your credit yourself on a weekly/monthly/yearly basis.

Yes its time for incompetence to come with a price and a class action lawsuit would be in order.

Perhaps we may use this breach to our advantage. Let 143,000,000+ Americans change their Social Security Number!

Agree that the FTC needs to step. The response by Equifax to offer only one-year of credit monitoring is a joke. The government needs to step in and hold Equifax accountable.

True dat!

So have you confirmed that your info was one of the ones stolen? If so, how?

They lost our information forever but they are only going to provide monitoring for a year for free? Sounds like a way to drum up business. Not fair to the other credit agencies that didn't lose our data!

Agreed

AMEN..STEP UP OR SHUT DOWN..WE'RE NOT GONNA TAKE IT ANYMORE

How can the guardian of credit history do so little when they have exposed 1/2 the population with a high risk of credit fraud. They should do more.

Equifax should be offering everyone lifetime monitoring for free and free credit freeze for life.

That was my question, why are we just learning about
this now...my goodness it's September!!!!!

I agree. Putting your name and social into a site that already has acknowledged a breach is a load of crap. They already have that info and more so why aren't they simply sending me a notice whether I was part of the breach?!! Don't opt out of any lawsuits!!! Of all the places that should have top of the line security and they are getting breached!!! Didn't they learn anything from all the other highly publicized breaches?!!!! I am outraged!

I am equally (more) concerned about my license number. If someone creates a fake license with your number and gets ticketed and that goes unpaid (which obviously it would) you will have warrants out for your arrest. You will not know either. There isn't much out there in regards with how to protect yourself with that issue.

Yes. Equifax should send U.S. Postal mail to each of us informing how we may have been affected including I.D. soc sec numbers

I agree, Equifax if putting a really stupid bandaid on a GSW to the American public. The FTC needs to do much more here. The CO's souls go to jail for insider trading when they sold their stocks before even. Otifying the public that there was a breach in their weak security affecting 1/2 of this country! They should pay to actually fix the problem now matter what it costs them! New SSN's for all Americans with truly identifying information and legitimate papers. Then Equifax should go out of business forever!

I say get rid of Credit agencies and do something creative like, have people contact your creditors directly for a reference. And like so many, I wouldn't doubt if Equifax hacked themselves just so they can charge you for monitoring services. So, so, so, very tired of the abuses these businesses get away with.

I think that's a great idea!

Equifax basically controls our lives with the information it provides and if I had my way, they wouldn't exhist. They don't provide me any service except to make my life a living hell. You can't get negative info off and everything else is only providing the fuel for banks and other companies to make a million off your missfortune. They should be fined and I wouldn't put it past them to find out they sold the information.

Seriously! As consumers, we are at the mercy of the credit bureaus, even though it is OUR information that's being used!! They are very pro-business, with little regard for the person whose life they are affecting.

Ditto

I totally agree..they should not even exist.So what do we do to get rid of them? I'm sure they are politically connected. Enough is enough!!!

This is exactly what I was thinking. I am not going to sign up with their TrustedID. I will check with the Federal Trade Commission and follow their steps. B:)

They should all go to prison!!! ...and then throw away the keys. It's what we all risk might happen to you or I once we neglect to make payments on any fraudulent accounts that get opened in our names, or from any IRS threat notices for fraudulent tax returns filed in our names.

I TOTALLY AGREE with you! Something fishy with this company. I think they should be thoroughly investigated. They removed negative items just for them to reappear again then push their monitoring program. Plus over seas call centers. Check them out FTC!!!

100% agree.

Equifax, Transunion and Experian service businesses, not consumers. FTC won't fine them cause businesses are not inconvenienced.

When the banks have to pay out money because of fraudulent access to bank accounts and credit cards then something will be done about these credit bureaus.

Totattly agree! I have an issue now! For over 9 months!

I just tried to obtain my credit report at annualcreditreport.com and entered all my personal information and then as it was transmitting it to move to the next step and generate a report, I got a site unavailable error. I am now VERY WORRIED that someone just hacked my info as it was heading to their site. I submitted a contact request to be called back to discuss this issue.

The same thing happened to me.

I got the same... I think the site is probably gettting slammed at the moment.

Same thing happened to me and I retried 10 minutes later and it worked. I suspect that the site is very busy right now.

may be due to so much site traffic.

Because of the data breach millions of people have been trying to access the site, and it's simply not capable of that much traffic. That's why there was an error.

I got the same thing. I think the 3 credit report companies' IT systems are not set up for the deluge of requests that are probably coming their way right now. Who needs Putin when you have Equifax, eh?

Do not be very worried. What you are desceibing is a man in the middle hack. They will not tol for just your data. They do it for hundred or thousands. It is a bussiness. Site unavailable errors would be due tonoverloadong the server with more requests than it can handle... Try later when server is less busu and you will succeed

Karen, you are right to be cautious, and you should be very careful to make sure you are using the secure https://www.annualcreditreport.com site. However, keep in mind that millions of people are checking their credit reports right now, so the most likely explanation for the "site unavailable" error is the spike in volume that site is getting.

I found on the equifax site that they are not providing online credit reports and you need to send a request via mail? very frustrating

Most likely the servers are just overwhelmed. The govt did just tell everyone to go to this site. Try again at "off hours", freeze your credit and monitor your existing lines if credit. Good luck!

Same thing happened when I tried to get my report....scary.

It's likely you received that message due to the high volume of people also requesting reports at this time due to the Equifax breach.

Same. I'm thinking the site servers have crashed. Would be good to know that prior to giving up all your information

Karen, I can understand your concern. I would not be worried about what you described. The site is encrypted, so the chances are pretty small that was the case. Most likely they've had A LOT of people accessing their site and it got overloaded. Hopefully that eases your mind. Best of luck to you.

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