PROTECTING YOUR CREDIT AFTER THE EQUIFAX DATA BREACH
Equifax, one of the three major credit bureaus, experienced a massive data breach. 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.
Was my information stolen?
If you have a credit report, there’s a good chance it was. Go to a special website set up by Equifax to find out: www.equifaxsecurity2017.com. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click on “Potential Impact,” enter some personal information and the site will tell you if you’ve been affected. Be sure you’re on a secure network (not public wi-fi) when you submit sensitive data over the internet.
Is my child’s identity safe?
If you are the parent or guardian of a minor and you think your child’s information has been compromised,
go to the website below to protect their information from fraudulent use:
If you think your child’s information has been stolen already, go to the website below to begin recovery:
How can I protect myself?
- Enroll in Equifax’s services. Equifax is offering one year of free credit monitoring and other services, whether or not your information was exposed. You can sign up at: equifaxsecurity2017.com
- Monitor your credit reports. In addition, you can order a free copy of your credit report from all three of the credit reporting agencies at annualcreditreport.com. You are entitled to one free report from each of the credit bureaus once per year.
- Set up a ‘Fraud Alert.’ Fraud Alerts require financial institutions to take extra steps to verify your identity before opening a new account, issuing an additional card, or increasing the credit limit on an existing account. Initially, Fraud Alerts only last 90 days. It’s important to plan for renewing it. If you are a victim of identity theft, you can set up an extended alert that’s good for seven years.
- Monitor your bank accounts.We also encourage you to monitor your financial accounts regularly for fraudulent transactions. Use your FinWise online and mobile banking to keep a close eye on your accounts. You may enroll in text or email alerts by logging it to your account, clicking on ‘Additional Services’ in the menu bar, and clicking on Alerts and Notifications. If you need assistance in setting up alerts or enrolling in online banking, please call us at 801-545-6000.
- Watch out for scams related to the breach. Do not trust e-mails that appear to come from Equifax regarding the breach. Attackers are likely to take advantage of the situation and craft sophisticated phishing e-mails.
Should I place a credit freeze on my files?
Before deciding to place a credit freeze on your accounts, consider your personal situation. If you might be applying for credit soon or think you might need quick credit in an emergency, it might be better to simply place a fraud alert on your files with the three major credit bureaus. A fraud alert puts a red flag on your credit report which requires businesses to take additional steps, such as contacting you by phone before opening a new account.
How do I contact the three major credit bureaus to place a freeze on my files?
- Equifax: Call 800-349-9960 or visit its website.
- Experian: Call 888-397-3742 or visit its website.
- TransUnion: Call 888-909-8872 or visit its website.
Where can I get more information about the Equifax breach?
- To learn more directly from Equifax: https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/
- To learn more from the Federal Trade Commission’s web page on the breach: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2017/09/equifax-data-breach-what-do
- To learn more about how to protect yourself after a breach, visit: https://www.identitytheft.gov/Info-Lost-or-Stolen
- To learn more from the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau: https://www.consumerfinance.gov/about-us/blog/identity-theft-protection-following-equifax-data-breach/