Equifax Security Breach

security breach

I’m sure many of you saw the news yesterday about the massive data breach at Equifax.  In this hyper-connected world we live in, it seems that hacks and cyber-attacks are becoming normal occurrences.  According to the Identity Theft Resource Center (http://www.idtheftcenter.org/), there were 1,093 data breaches at U.S. companies and government agencies in 2016.  This Equifax breach is worth your attention, however.

It’s estimated that 143 million customers had their sensitive data stolen from this consumer credit reporting company.  Essentially, if you have a credit card or a mortgage, more than likely you were affected.  Additionally, the type of data stolen makes this breach one of the most potentially damaging hacks we’ve experienced.

If you were affected, the hackers have your name, birth date, social security number, and address.  In some cases the data contained driver’s license number, bank account numbers, credit card numbers, information about your mortgage and your payment history.  Additionally, we found out that the breach occurred on July 29, so the data has been “in the wild” for 6 weeks.  This is essentially everything needed to steal a person’s identity.

What can you do?

First, click this link to find out if your data was breached: https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/

Equifax is providing free identity theft protection and credit monitoring, which you can enroll in from this page.

Make sure your loved ones are enrolled as well.

Second, you could place a security freeze on your account at each of the three credit bureaus.  It will make it difficult for people attempting to use your info to open new credit cards or other accounts.

The link to place a freeze or lift a freeze for each bureau is:

Transunion: https://www.transunion.com/credit-freeze/place-credit-freeze
Experian: https://www.experian.com/freeze/center.html
Equifax: https://www.freeze.equifax.com/

Third, since the breach took place a while ago, check your credit reports to make sure nothing has already happened.