Credit reporting agency Equifax has disclosed a data breach that potentially affects 143 million consumers. Based on Equifax’s investigation, the unauthorized access occurred from mid-May 2017 through July 2017. The information accessed primarily includes names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and driver’s license numbers. Additionally, credit card numbers for approximately 209,000 U.S. consumers and dispute documents with personal identifying information for approximately 182,000 U.S. consumers were accessed. Equifax will send direct mail notices to those whose credit cards or dispute documents were impacted.
Equifax has setup a website (www.equifaxsecurity2017.com) where consumers can check to see if their information was compromised. On this website, consumers can also sign up for credit monitoring and identity theft protection. The offering called TrustedID Premier includes monitoring of 3 credit bureaus (Equifax, TransUnion and Experian), copies of Equifax credit reports, the ability to freeze and unfreeze Equifax credit reports, identity theft insurance, and internet scanning for Social Security numbers- all complimentary to U.S. consumers for one year.
Other security measures consumers can take include routinely checking banking account statements and credit card statements for unauthorized transactions, setting up alerts on credits cards and deposit accounts triggered by balance amounts and size of transactions, and continue to check credit reports at www.annualcreditreport.com to ensure the loans and credit cards on these reports are accurate. You can order a free report from each of the 3 credit reporting agencies once a year. For additional questions concerning the breach, contact the Equifax call center at 866-447-7559. For more information about identity theft and ways to protect yourself, visit the Federal Trade Commission’s website www.identitytheft.gov.