Criminals were able to gain access to Equifax’s database which included Social Security numbers, birth dates, and addresses of 143 million Americans from mid-May through July 2017.
Also stolen was credit card information for nearly 209,000 people, dispute documents with personal identifying information for nearly 182,000 people as well as driver’s license numbers in some cases.
What does this mean for you?
At this time, it is important to understand that you are not a victim of identity theft.
It is also important to note breaches which occur from hacking or unauthorized access are most often done with malicious intent. Unfortunately, this means that the use of the personal information gained during the attack is more likely to be used to commit identity theft.
What concerns us most is, this breach included Social Security numbers. A Social Security number is the most valuable piece of information to identity thieves and can result in many different forms of identity theft. It allows identity thieves to open new financial accounts, obtain government benefits or employment, file taxes and commit other types of identity theft. The thieves don’t care if you have great credit or bad credit, so it is incredibly important that all individuals take this threat seriously.
What can you do now?
If your information has been potentially exposed, there are proactive steps you can take:
- For free guidance and assistance, call and speak to an ITRC Victim Advisor at 888-400-5530 or click “Chat now.”
- Go to www.equifaxsecurity2017.com and follow the directions to see if your information has been impacted. Read Equifax FAQ’s for consumers.
- Make sure that you are on a safe connection when entering this information and do not use public WI-FI or a public computer as it can put you at additional risk for identity theft.
- Check your credit report with all three credit reporting agencies by visiting annualcreditreport.com and consider placing a fraud alert or credit freeze.
- Closely monitor your financial accounts (credit cards, banking, utilities, and etc.) for any signs of fraudulent activity.
- Stay alert for notifications via mail about the data breach or potential fraud occurring due to the data breach.
- Be aware of phishing attempts exploiting the data breach to get you to click on a link in an email or share your personal information.
- If you believe your driver’s license has been compromised, contact the Department/Bureau of Motor Vehicles in your state to notify them that your information may have been exposed and see if you can place an alert on your license number and check your driving record.
Educate yourself about the different types of identity theft:
The use of your Social Security number can result in many different forms of identity theft. Below is information so you know what to look for and what to do if you become a victim. Of course, you can call and speak to an ITRC Advisor at any time for proactive tips and victim assistance at 888-400-5530 or click “Chat now.”