If you haven’t heard about the Equifax breach you had better read this. Likewise, if you have heard about it, but haven’t done anything about it – you need to. Also, Equifax will not be calling you. So if you get any phone calls from anyone claiming they are from Equifax it is a scam.
Equifax is one of the three large credit bureaus. They collects ALL your financial information. This includes your information from credit card companies, mortgage lenders, banks, utilities and even landlords. Also included is almost any company that you make a payment to or have borrowed from. Almost every adult in America had their information breached. This impacted approximately 143 million consumers. That may include you.
As you can imagine, the potential problems are huge. The hackers have gained information including social security numbers, birth dates, addresses, credit card numbers, and even some driver’s license numbers. There’s more bad news: this occurred mid-May through July of this year. Equifax didn’t discover it until July 29th. They just recently disclosed this to the public. However, the good news is that according to their website the “issue” has been contained.
What you need to do
Once there, on the top of the page in a grey colored bar you will see, “To enroll in complimentary identity theft protection and credit file monitoring, click here.” Alternately, you can click on the tab that says, “Potential Impact.” You will need to enter your last name and the last six digits of your Social Security number.
You will immediately get a notification letting you know if you are potentially affected. Mine stated that they, “believe that your personal information may have been impacted by this incident.” If you get that, don’t panic. Continue reading.
Next, you can sign up for their free credit file monitoring and identity theft protection. They are offering this to all U.S. consumers. You can sign up for the free service even if it shows you aren’t one that is affected. Consumers who sign up for their TrustedID Premier will not be automatically enrolled or charged after the conclusion of the complimentary year of TrustedID Premier. They are not requesting consumers’ credit card information when you sign up. You must complete the enrollment process by November 21, 2017. However, we recommend taking action right away to start protecting your credit.
What TrustedID Premier Includes
TrustedID Premier, includes 3-Bureau credit monitoring of your Equifax, Experian and TransUnion credit reports; copies of your Equifax credit report; the ability to lock and unlock your Equifax credit report; identity theft insurance; and Internet scanning for your Social Security number – all complimentary to all U.S. consumers for one year.
They will then send you an email to verify and activate your product. Make sure to take this step! Continue to check back if you do not get the email right away. There is a large volume of requests right now. If you don’t get one within a few days, make sure to check your spam and junk folders.
They also have a call center that you can call if you would prefer to speak with someone, or have questions that you would like answered. Please be aware that Hurricane Irma has affected some of the call centers, so wait times may be longer than normal. The dedicated call center for this data breach is available every day from 7:00 a.m. – 1:00 a.m. Eastern time. The number is 866-447-7559.
You’re Not Waiving Your Rights
There has been some confusion, as well as falsely reported information we want to clarify. By signing up for their TrustedID Premier service you are not waiving your right to arbitration or future class actions.
Additional Steps Recommended
After enrolling in the identity theft protection and credit file monitoring, please see the “Identity Theft Prevention Tips” below from their website. This information provides additional steps you can take. You can also obtain a free copy of your credit report and place a fraud alert and/or credit freeze on your credit report. If you are going to be refinancing or purchasing a home you may not want to do a credit freeze. In addition, please monitor your account statements and report any unauthorized charges to your credit card companies and financial institutions.
Specific State Information
Residents of Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, North Carolina or Rhode Island; there is specific information for you on their “State Information” tab which can be found by clicking here.
Continue To Check Back
Continue to check back to their website as they will be sharing regular updates there. They are reading consumers suggestions. If you have suggestions, make sure to let them know.
Tips To Prevent Identity Theft
Per their website, they “recommend that you remain vigilant for incidents of fraud and identity theft by reviewing account statements and monitoring your credit reports. You may obtain a free copy of your credit report from each company listed below once every 12 months by requesting your report online at www.annualcreditreport.com, calling toll-free 1-877-322-8228, or mailing an Annual Credit Report Request Form (available at www.annualcreditreport.com) to: Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA, 30348-5281. You may also purchase a copy of your credit report by contacting any of the credit reporting agencies below:
If you believe you are the victim of identity theft, you should contact the proper law enforcement authorities, including local law enforcement. You should also consider contacting your state attorney general and/or the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”). You also may contact the FTC to obtain additional information about avoiding identity theft.
600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20580; 1-877-IDTHEFT (438-4338)
You may obtain information from the FTC and the credit reporting agencies listed above about placing a fraud alert and/or credit freeze on your credit report.
This is the most up to date information as of Sept. 12, 2017.
As always, thanks for reading and we welcome any additional information or comments you may have.
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