Equifax breach: How to protect yourself from identity theft

Category:  News
Wednesday, September 27th, 2017 at 3:05 PM

On Sept. 7, credit reporting agency Equifax revealed that the social security numbers and private information of nearly 143 million Americans was compromised in May through July.

According to a press release from the company, the breach included “names, social security numbers, birth dates, addresses, and in some cases, driver’s license numbers.” Additionally, nearly 200,000 credit card numbers were available to criminals who wanted them.

The release also stated the company found out about the unauthorized access to the private information at the end of July and “acted immediately to stop the intrusion.”

How to know if you’re affected:

Since going public with the details of the cybersecurity issue, Equifax has created a website where people are able to enter some information and immediately find out if their personal information may have been compromised. The website equifaxsecurity2017.com was created almost immediately after the public release of the breach.

What to do if you’re affected:

Equifax is offering a free, one-year subscription to its credit file monitoring and theft protection service, called TrustID Premier. The service will include copies of your credit report, credit file monitoring and automatic account alerts, credit report locks, social security number monitoring and $1 million in identify theft insurance.

It was originally reported if you took part in the TrustID Premier subscription, you were waiving your rights to join a class-action lawsuit against the company. In a Sept. 15 press release, Equifax made it clear people who signed up for the subscription will not be disqualified from participating in a class-action suit.

By putting a credit freeze on your credit report, you’re able to prevent any hackers or criminals from opening new accounts in your name.

However, if you are planning on opening any lines of credit while the freeze is on, you’ll have to temporarily lift the freeze, according to CNN Money.

You may be able to place fraud alerts on your credit report by contacting one of the three main credit reporting agencies (Equifax, TransUnion, Experian). According to the Federal Trade Commission website, an initial fraud alert stays on your account for 90 days, and then you can renew it.

How would Equifax have had my information:

Even if you don’t have any credit cards, mortgages, car loans, or other things that you think only qualify for the hack, you may still be at risk. If you have any federal or private loans, there’s a large chance Equifax has seen your information and you could still be affected by the breach.

In order to make sure your identity and personal information is safe, make sure to take the appropriate measures to prevent any harm.

Dakota Palmer is the news editor for The Spectator. She can be reached at eupnews.spectator@gmail.com.

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