2017 Equifax Data Breach
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 the 2017 data Breach at Equifax, one of the nation’s three major credit reporting agencies.
There are steps to take to help protect your information from being misused. Visit Equifax’s website, equifaxsecurity2017.com. If you click on the “Potential Impact” tab, you’ll be asked to enter your last name and the last six digits of your Social Security number, so make sure you’re on a secure computer and an encrypted network connection. The site will tell you if you’ve been affected by this breach.
Whether or not your information was exposed, Equifax is offering a year of free credit monitoring and other services. You have until November 21, 2017 to enroll.
Steps You Can 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.
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. Additional information is available from the IRS at https://www.irs.gov/identity-theft-fraud-scams/identity-protection.
Be Skeptical of Phone Calls: the IRS will never contact you by phone. Never provide confidential information over the phone unless you initiate the call and are confident the telephone number is correct.
Visit Identitytheft.gov/databreach to learn more about protecting yourself after a data breach.