Recently, one of the most popular credit reporting agencies, Equifax, had a data breach leaving its 143 million consumers at risk of their personal information being exposed. The incident occurred between May and June, and hackers were able to get a hold of valuable information such as social security number, birthdates and addresses. In addition, over 200,000 credit card numbers were stolen.
If you believe you may have been affected by the Equifax Breach, go to their website and click the “Am I Affected?” tab. You will then be prompted to enter your last name and the last 6 digits of your social
security number. Equifax will then notify if you are at risk of identity fraud and how to proceed.
To make sure sure your credit information is safe after a breech:
- Check your bank accounts statements and credit card statements. Look very closely at activity especially following the breach.
- Get your free credit reports from annualcreditreport.com. If hackers may have already stolen your identity. Check for any accounts or charges you don’t recognize.
- Report any suspicious or fraudulent activity immediately. You can work with creditors and banks to recover fraudulent charges.
- If a company responsible for exposing your information offers you free credit monitoring, take advantage of it.
- Create a fraud alert on your information. This is a warning that your information has been exposed in a data breach and requires any account verify additional information before providing additional or new credit.
- Place a credit freeze on your credit report. Also known as a security freeze, restricting access to your credit report makes it more difficult for identity thieves to open new accounts in your name. This is because most creditors need to see your credit report before they approve a new account.
Whether or not your information was exposed, U.S. consumers can get a year of free credit monitoring and other services. The equifax security website 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 November 21, 2017 to enroll.