What is the Breach?
140+ million Americans have had their personal information exposed during Equifax’s Data Breach. Equifax is one of three major credit reporting agencies in the US. This breach lasted for about three months, from May to July 2017, and hackers gained access to a ton of personal information from personal addresses to social security numbers. With that, the hackers were even able to steal the credit card numbers of a couple hundred thousand people. Therefore, if you have a credit report, there is a likely chance that you have been impacted.
How can I tell if I was impacted?
To see if you’ve been impacted, click here, then click the “Am I Impacted” button. You will be asked to fill out a short questionnaire and the website will tell you if you may have been impacted.
What can I do to protect myself?
There are several ways that you can protect yourself. Some available options are credit monitoring, credit freezes, and fraud alerts. As a response to this breach, Equifax is now offering free credit monitoring. Click here to enroll in Equifax’s free credit monitoring. Credit monitoring will track changes in your credit reports and detect any suspicious activity.
A credit freeze does exactly that, freezes your credit report. It restricts outsiders from accessing your credit reports and prevents the threat of a hacker accessing your report and opening a new line of credit in your name. In order to freeze your credit, you must reach out to the three major credit reporting companies, Equifax, Experian, and Transunion. These typically cost about $10.
Fraud alerts require that, when new credit is being applied for in your name, the creditor take steps to verify that it is you applying for that credit. To apply for this, reach out to one of the three major credit reporting agencies. Once you request it from one, that agency must let the other two know of your request.
Also, check your personal bank’s website to see if they are offering any protection options. Change your usernames and passwords for online access to your bank accounts. Set debit & credit card usage and travel notifications. Do as much as you possibly can to protect yourself. You do not want to put yourself at risk of fraud, or even worse, identity theft.