How does the Equifax breach affect me?
UPDATED: 9/8/2017 2:07pm
Included link to FTC FAQ about credit hold and fraud alert in info below.
UPDATED: 9/8/2017 12:33pm
When you go to the Equifax site listed in the original story below to check if you are at risk, they are offering to enroll you in free credit protection for a year. Now whether you choose to trust the company that just exposed your credit info, to monitor it, that is your call, but what you need to understand is that if you do enroll, the fine print says you waive your rights to partaking in a class action lawsuit.
You might not think this is a big deal because you don’t plan on wasting your time or money to contact your attorney and look into this action, however a class action suit has already been filed. If you are interested in this suit you should contact either of the firms that are leading it. Contact info can be found here for Olsen, Daines PC and here for Geragos & Geragos.
Another action you can take besides signing up with Equifax, or paying for your own credit monitoring with another company, is to contact all 3 credit bureaus and to freeze your credit. While this isn’t a long term solution, and it does take some time to contact all 3 bureaus, this is a viable option for now until we get more information in the coming days/weeks/months. For information on credit hold and fraud alert go to the FTC site here. NOTE: DO NOT do this if you intend to buy a car, open a credit card or do anything that would require your credit to be checked, as a creditor will be unable to do this while you have a freeze in place.
On September 7, 2017 the credit reporting agency Equifax reported that it had been breached by a cyberattack. Potentially 143 million consumers’ information was compromised, almost half of the population of the United States.
So how could this affect you? If you were one of the 143 million, there is a potential that your personal information is out there available for sale. If someone does buy your info, it is not unlikely that your identity could be compromised and someone could setup credit cards, take out loans, or otherwise pose as you in financial situations that would bring your credit score crashing to the ground.
The “good news” is that Equifax has setup a website for people to check to see if their information was compromised and to provide them with free credit monitoring to help thwart identity theft attempts. You can check here to see if you are in danger and enroll for the free credit monitoring services.
To further protect yourself, you could also enroll in a dark web monitoring service which would watch for your personal information to appear on the dark web. While there are many of these services available one of the more well-known ones is Experian.
Just because you may be one of the people affected by this breach, or any other breach for that matter, doesn’t mean your information will be purchased or your identity will definitely be stolen. What it does mean is that you should be vigilant in what you do to protect yourself from these threats. This day in age, monitoring and detection is imperative, so that if your information is out there on the web for sale, or has been purchased, you can act quickly before it’s too late.