The Equifax Security Breach is one of the largest consumer rights violations in this nation’s history.
Here’s what happened, according to the Federal Trade Commission, reporting directly from 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.“
So what should a consumer do?
Here are tips, again from the Federal Trade Commission website:
- checkFind 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. https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com.
- checkCheck 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.
- checkConsider 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.
- checkMonitor 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.
- checkFile 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.
- exclamationMOST IMPORTANTLY…DO THIS NOW! PULL YOUR EACH OF YOUR 3 CREDIT REPORTS
Now this is something that consumers should be doing on a regular basis, just to confirm that their credit report is accurate and that no improper information is being used against them. Take the time to go through EACH OF THE THREE Bureaus and carefully examine your credit reports. Challenge any reporting that is not accurate and inquire in writing about any service that has requested information about your credit.
Be very careful of fake sites and only go to the Official Annual Credit Report.com Website
Next, be very careful when you download each of your individual credit reports…if you move through the sites, you will miss one of the most important benefits that you need and that is downloading and saving a pdf version of your own credit report!PAY PARTICULAR ATTENTION TO THE CREDIT REPORT PULLS THAT MIGHT BE LISTED ON YOUR OWN CREDIT REPORT!
Finally, take very clear notes about all your efforts to get resolution from Equifax. What numbers did you call? Did you log on their websites? How much time did you spend trying to fix their problems? Was your credit breached? Do your credit reports show unauthorized inquiries or accounts opened up in your name?
AFTER YOU’VE DONE EACH OF THESE THINGS, CALL OR EMAIL OUR OFFICE AND SHARE YOUR EXPERIENCE! WE WILL CAREFULLY EVALUATE YOUR CASE AND DETERMINE WHAT NEXT STEPS SHOULD BE TAKEN!