Equifax Data Breach and What You Should Know
On September 7, Equifax Inc. announced they had been hacked and as a result over 143 million Americans could be affected. They waited roughly 2 months to get this information to the public-Strike 1 Equifax. This incident occurred between May-June 2017, at which time the hackers were able to access not only credit card numbers, but social security numbers and driver’s license numbers as well as other data.
What you need to do:
- Visit www.equifaxsecurity2017.com. This is a site that Equifax has created to allow you to find out if you were compromised.
- Check your credit reports. You can go to annualcreditreport.com to run a free credit report. Please note: you are allowed one free report per year per reporting bureau. Be sure to look your credit report over carefully. If you notice any suspicious activity contact the banks or credit card companies involved. Again, you need to do this for all 3 credit agencies: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.
- Sign up for additional fraud protection. Equifax will offer free one year credit monitoring through Trusted ID, but you may want to look into other coverage such as Lifelock, EZ Shield, Identity Guard, BIGID, etc. for further protections.
- Strengthen your passwords. Consider setting up two-factor authentication. This would include a password and confirmation via email.
- If you receive a random call or email from someone stating to be from Equifax, do not speak with them or give them any information.
- If you wish to freeze your Equifax credit file, they will waive all fees until Nov. 21. However, Experian (Strike 2!) and TransUnion (Strike 3!) will not currently waive the $10 fee associated with freezing your credit with them.
We, along with most of the country are appalled with the handling of this situation by Equifax. They are supposed to be one of three agencies we can trust with our utmost important information. There appears to have been, what boils down to insider trading, by 3 high-ranking executives totaling nearly $1.8 million worth of stock within days after Equifax detected the breach as well. A breach of this magnitude appears inevitable in today’s technology driven world, but the way Equifax managed its customer’s information is downright unacceptable.
Congress and the New York Attorney General along with several other high ranking agencies have begun an investigation. As a result, the CEO of Equifax is expected to testify on October 3 before a House of Representatives panel. If you would like to share your thoughts, please contact your elected official at https://www.usa.gov/elected-officials.