Equifax Data Breach
Information in response to the recent
Equifax Data Breach
Not everyone will be a victim of identity theft as a result of a breach, but keeping informed can help you mitigate risk when dealing with any data breach. When a breach does occur, you can take action by doing a few things.
Five Things to Do If You Learn Your Information Has Been Stolen
- Stay alert: If you have been part of a data breach, the breached company may send you a notice. Retain all documents and consider any suggestions they may have. Also, pay attention to and retain any mail you receive that is unfamiliar to you, such as notices from the IRS regarding your taxes or any bills from unknown lenders.
- Initiate a fraud alert: You can set a fraud alert with any of the three credit agancies. When you request a fraud alert be added with any of the three major credit bureaus, the bureau you contacted will notify the other two and alerts will be added with those bureaus as well. A fraud alert or initial security alert will warn lenders that you may have been a fraud victim. This extra precaution will notify the potential lender that they should contact you before granting any new line of credit in your name. This fraud alert will stay on your credit report for 90 days. You can renew the fraud alert when it expires.
- Monitor your financial accounts: Visit your online bank and financial accounts, and set up any alert features they may have, if you have not already done so. This could help save some time and keep you notified of any unusual events when they occur.
- Monitor your credit: Checking your credit report can help you identify any unusual activity, such as new accounts, new personal information or inquiries. Go to https://www.annualcreditreport.com/index.action for a free copy of your credit report.
- Freeze or lock your credit file: You may consider adding a security freeze. You can also freeze your credit reports with Equifax, Experian and TransUnion®. A security freeze will prevent potential lenders from accessing your credit report. Your credit report will only be accessible by unfreezing the account. If you are planning on applying for new credit in the near future, you could consider postponing the security freeze. Fees and requirements for adding and removing a freeze vary by state.
If you have concerns about the Equifax® data breach, please contact Equifax at 866-447-7559.
For more information on safeguarding your personal information, visit any of the three credit reporting agencies: