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Article: What To Do About The Equifax (or other) Data Breach

What To Do About The Equifax (or other) Data Breach

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  1. What To Do About The Equifax (or other) Data Breach

 

What to do about the Equifax (or other) Data Breach

By the GWAAR Legal Services Team

 

You may have heard about the recent data breach at Equifax, one of the three major credit reporting agencies in the U.S. The data breach affected approximately 143 million Americans. According to Equifax, the breach occurred between mid-May through July of this year. The information released included people’s names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses, and even driver’s license numbers. In addition, the data breach released credit card numbers of roughly 209,000 people, along with other documents with personally identifying information of nearly 182,000 people.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recommends that people take the following steps to help protect their information. First, find out if your information was affected. You can go to Equifax’s website, https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/potential-impact/, and enter your last name and the last six digits of your Social Security number. You should be sure to use a secure computer to do this. The website will tell you if the data breach affected you.

Individuals in the U.S. can get a year of free credit monitoring whether or not they were affected. Equifax’s website will give you a date when you can come back to enroll in these services. On that date, you can go back to the website and click “Enroll.” You will have until November 21, 2017 to enroll.

Equifax also provides answers to some frequently asked questions here: https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/frequently-asked-questions/.

In addition, here are some other steps you can take to protect your identity:

  • Always keep a close eye on your credit card and bank accounts to watch for charges you don’t recognize.
  • Check your credit reports for free by visiting www.annualcreditreport.com. If you see activity you don’t recognize, it might be due to identity theft. You can learn more about identity theft at https://www.identitytheft.gov or by contacting your local police department.
  • Think about placing a credit freeze on your files. This makes it harder for someone to use your identity to open a new account in your name. Keep in mind that it doesn’t prevent someone from using your existing accounts.
  •  If you don’t want to place a credit freeze on your files, think about placing a fraud alert on your files. This will let creditors know that they should make sure that anyone who wants to use your credit is really you.
  • File your taxes as soon as you can. This will prevent someone from using your Social Security number to get a tax refund.

You can learn more about how to protect yourself after a data breach here: https://www.identitytheft.gov/databreach.

 

Copyright GWAAR

 

Last Updated on 5/7/2018