How to Protect Yourself from the Equifax Data Breach

On September 7th Equifax had a major security breach that potentially compromised 143 million consumer’s personal information. The information accessed includes names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some instances, driver’s license numbers. In addition, credit card numbers for approximately 209,000 U.S. consumers, and certain dispute documents with personal identifying information for approximately 182,000 U.S. consumers, were accessed.

To combat this, Equifax has established a dedicated website, www.equifaxsecurity2017.com, to help consumers like you determine if their information has been potentially impacted and to sign up for credit file monitoring and identity theft protection. This service is free, and contrary to the initial news story it does not waive your right to participate in a class action lawsuit in the future. In addition to the website, Equifax will send direct mail notices to consumers whose credit card numbers or dispute documents with personal identifying information were impacted.

If you decide to enroll in the free credit monitoring, you will receive a date on the web page. On or after that date, you will have to click here to continue the enrollment process. Your credit monitoring will cease unless you return to the site and renew the enrollment.

Quick Tip: Be aware that credit monitoring is a system designed to notify you of suspicious activity. It does not automatically take actions that will protect you in any way. In the event that you are notified of fraudulent activity, you should begin by contacting the business directly associated with the account (like your credit card company).

Because credit card information and bank account information were part of the breach, you should also closely monitor your accounts for any suspect transactions. If you see anything questionable, you should immediately contact your bank or credit card company.

For further information about the security breach, please refer to reporting from the FTC, New York Times and Market Watch.

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Becky Bower is the Content Strategist here at the CIC Blog. She holds a degree in English, with a focus in creative writing, from CSU Channel Islands. Her biggest weakness is cake and favorite superhero is Batman.

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