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Safety & Security

Equifax Security Breach

September 15, 2017

Concerned about the Equifax security breach? Review our FAQs below to learn more, including how to protect yourself.

FAQs

I’ve been hearing about the Equifax breach in the news. What happened?

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: https://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.

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 https://www.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.

Monitor your bank accounts. 

We also encourage you to monitor your financial accounts regularly for fraudulent transactions. Use online and mobile banking to keep a close eye on your accounts.

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.

Place a Security Freeze on Credit Reports

A security freeze protects against identity theft and the opening of fraudulent accounts with a consumer’s personal information. It will block an institution or lender from accessing a report, unless a pre-set PIN is provided to “thaw” the report; a credit report may be thawed at a particular bureau for a period of time or for a specific lender. Consumers must contact each of the bureaus listed below to place a security freeze.

  • Go to the Equifax security freeze site and follow the instructions; record the PIN you are given.
  • Go to the Experian security freeze site and follow the instructions; record your PIN carefully.
  • Go to the Innovis security freeze site and follow the instructions; record your PIN carefully.
  • Go to the TransUnion security freeze site and follow the instructions; record your PIN carefully.

Some states charge fees to place a freeze on, thaw or unfreeze a credit report; see the sites above for specific state details.

Place a Fraud Alert on Credit Reports

A fraud alert on credit reports requires potential creditors to contact the consumer and obtain permission to open new accounts or lines of credit. Consumers are allowed by law to report they are an identity theft victim and file a fraud alert (aka a “security alert”) every 90 days; with proper documentation such as a police report, the fraud alert period may be extended to seven years.

If consumers contact one of the first three listed below, that bureau is required to contact the other two; consumers must contact the fourth bureau directly to place an alert.

  • Place a fraud alert with Equifax: call 800.525.6285 or go here; or
  • Place a fraud alert with Experian: call 888.397.3742 or go here; or
  • Place a fraud alert with TransUnion: call 800.680.7289 or go here.
  • Place a fraud alert with Innovis: call 800.540.2505 or go here.

Unless there is an extended fraud alert in place, make a reminder to renew the fraud alerts after 90 days.

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