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

Further reason to trust your representatives and capitalist corrupt corporations.

thanks guys, for the 60yrs i get to monitor identity and monetary fraud, daily. Until i die.

thanks exaifax. thanks lobbyist. thanks ftc. thanks guys for forcing us to participate in your system that has no empathy.

i hope your jets are fueled and your in-ground pools are warm. enjoy your caviar and take in the sun. on us, the people

For a company as personally influential as Equifax, this should have never happened. Period. Let's hope THEY will now take the required precautions with the precious information we must give them.

How convenient for at least 3 top executives of Equifax to have the time to unload approximately $1.8 million worth of stock while the 143 million of us were most likely having our stolen identities and bank and credit card account numbers and good credit sold on the dark web to thieves around the world, time in which we could have been setting up fraud alerts and placing security freezes on our credit. How can we not be skeptical when we hear of such audacious behavior by those in high positions of a credit collection and reporting company (1 of the big 3) which also offers security monitoring and protection for -of course a price.

Who within Equifax is being charged with a crime of failure to protect public data? You, the US Govt., essentially grant these no-name shadows the monopolistic right to control our lives at the behest of the largest international banks.

And you serve no value to the individual citizen when you pretend to tell us all about how to protect ourselves while you at the same time do the bidding of a few large companies. In truth, you are betraying the citizenry of this country.

Send an Equifax executive to jail for betrayal of public trust, then I will value your existence. Otherwise you are useless, and liars to boot.

"If you haven't taken precautions against breaches in the past, let's hope you will now..." Please help me understand why you seem to imply that we consumers are responsible for security breaches that took place at Equifax? Their resolving the problem should be the issue here, not shifting the blame to their victims!

But their execs sold $2 million of dollars in shares 3 days after they found out about the security breach. Is that solving for the customer?

I sincerely hope the SEC take those bloodsucking execs and make pariah's out of them. That's a whole new level of selfish-nepotism. If I was a family member of one of them, I'd disavow my relationship and wish them a safe journey down to hell. Sold that stock, sold their souls.

I was thinking the same thing.

They had to give the CEO and others time to sell off shares while they were still worth something

What responsibility does Equifax assume other than remedial help for a limited amount of time......What if my credit is compromised due to the lackadaisical attitude that Equifax has taken so far toward this horrendous discovery? Do they pay the up to $1,000,000 to repair my credit?

It is my understanding that several executives at Equifax sold stock in their company just prior to the release of this news. If this is the case, people will be going to jail.

I'll believe it when I see it.

it is not so simple to determine what data has been compromised and the must be balanced against the possibility of misinforming the public. you have the notice and now you have been educated on your options. keep calm and carry on

Our information has been used and I have been going thru H _ _ _ dealing with it all and even had to send all the information to them thru the mail because you can't talk to a real person. They knew this was going on and didn't take time to even read what was sent to them.

Not only did they wait 3-months to tell us, but they are making us wait an extra week to sign up for the free TrustedID Premier. Why do I have to wait another week? The people who stole this could do a lot of damage in a week. Why do you have to wait until an "enrollment date?"

And after the top guys sold their stock shares

The biggest reason they didn't release info sooner is because the big wigs, in the past 40 days, sold off millions of dollars in stocks before any info was released! It was their greed that made them keep their mouths shut and our lives in turmoil!

Ah but when did Equifax tell the FTC?

I read that investigators may recommend they not make the information public immediately because it can interfere with them catching the culprits. Not sure this is the case here since some Equifax higher ups sold off stock right away. That bit seems sketchy.

Where is the "Potential Impact" tab?

"Potential Impact" is where you can enter your information and confirm if you were actually impacted. It has been confirmed as a valid entry and no risk.

At the end of the 2nd paragraph they give you this web site: http://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/ You will see the "Potential Impact" tab on that page!

I know!! Where is it??

Scroll down all the way to the bottom of the page.

IMN-S-HO, not a good place to have put it; "tabs" are usually expected to be at or near the top of a page...

It's on the referenced equifax page: http://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/

Took me a while to figure it out too.

click on the link in the article to: www.equifaxsecurity2017.com - the tab is on that screen.

Thats what I'm wondering

Top left 3 bars and it opens a menu

I meant top right

Could not find the "Potential Impact" tab.

Just assume you were breached. Anyone has a better than 50% chance. I've read in other media article you waive your right to sue and agree to arbitration.

where is the Potential Impact tab

That tab is immediately below the heading on the linked page. The heading reads:
"Cybersecurity Incident & Important Consumer Information"

scroll to bottom of page

where is the potential impact tab?

Again? Really?

This is great. Not only do they charge a fee for me to put a credit freeze on my account, it doesn't guarantee others won't be able to open accounts in my name.

Not to mention equifax, which has been made so important for people to get loans or credit cards, has a system that has been breached. Good job on protecting your clients, equifax.

And what do we get in return for this hot mess? Perhaps an apology and a free credit report. Thanks for nuthin, equifax. Way to go!

The free service Equifax is offering is only for "monitoring" and offers NO protection! This is incredible

well, sadly not surprised. Let's be honest: All the "Credit Bureaus" (as well as the FICO monopoly that surprisingly no Americans appear to ever have challenged) are owned by the Financial services industry who call the shots. I think it's equally sad that no one is challenging the fact that FICO is a monopoly and that its algorithms aren't clearer--and appear arbitrary.

As far as the protection offered for free, this should already have been offered by ALL 3 credit bureaus. The financial services industry dictates how they function, and they DEFINITELY have the means to pay for protecting their enforced membership. I always thought it was ridiculous to have to pay for credit monitoring! This is something that should have been part of their responsibility as guardians of our information! It's not too late to protest! And lobby the FTC to change the rules to favor consumers over the financial services industry!

And if they find something in that "monitoring" period, will they wait 3-4 months to tell you about it like this time???

Better yet, The monitoring company they want us all to sign up with is owned by... Wait for it...Equifax!

That free service also excludes them from any liability.

We, the public, are not clients of the credit agencies, we are their "products" to mine and harvest. Just like you are not, as a Facebook user, their customer, you are the product. The clients/customers are companies that pay for your information or pay for ad exposure. Not that any of this makes you feel any better!

"Clients"? I don't recall ever giving permission to this company to house any information of mine. And yet, they took it, mishandled it, and now it can have a huge impact on my life. This should be illegal.

Do not use the "credit monitoring" service. There will be a class action lawsuit against equifax. Part of the terms are an agreement to use binding arbitration. This is more dirty work on the part of equifax. Watch your bills closely for irregularities, get the annuals from the other agencies but not all at once. Space 'em out.
One other thing: does equinfax really think I'm going to give them my SSN/name voluntarily to find out if they gave away my data? As soon as the execs who insider traded their stock give me a piece of their profit, I'll think about it.

we are not their clients, the businesses that want to know our credit standing are their clients, evidently i am just a pawn...

Remember, we are not their clients. we are the crop to harvest for creditors, lenders and telemarketers, their real clients. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was to have been our advocate. We can only hope the FTC has some consumer advocates.

This is how the rich get richer. My feelings exactly what a crock of crap equifax you are one of the three credit card bureaus. How do you let this happen? AN apology don't hold your breath!! Shame on you.................

What kind of deal is this??? Should have been notified right then!!!!!!

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