Equifax Credit Alert
Most of you have probably heard about the data security breach at Equifax that occurred over the summer and was announced late last week. As Equifax has reported that up to 143 million U.S. consumers may have been impacted, it is probable that your information was breached. The information accessed, according to Equifax, includes Social Security Numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some cases, driver’s license numbers or credit card numbers.
Equifax has set up a dedicated website to help people determine if their data may have been accessed, although there have been reports that raise questions about the accuracy of the information. However, when asked, we are recommending that clients look into whether or not their personal information might have been breached. In order to check with Equifax regarding the potential breach, you should:
- Visit Equifax Security 2017
- Click on the “Potential Impact” button at the bottom of the screen
- You will be prompted for the last 6 digits of your Social Security Number and your last name
- Upon entering the information, you will be notified whether you may have been impacted
Equifax is offering its Identity Theft Protection and Credit File Monitoring services free for one year to any consumer, regardless of whether your personal information was compromised. While one can be reasonably skeptical about this service provided by the same firm that experienced a security breach, you may nonetheless want to take advantage of the offer (same website noted above). Alternatively, you might consider signing up for other paid credit monitoring services which are available. We are not commenting on the protection that these services provide, but they may offer an additional means to have your credit monitored on a constant basis to alert you to unusual inquiries and potential breaches.
Keep in mind that you may periodically request a free copy of your credit report from any of the three credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. These can be accessed at Annual Credit Report. Any individual can request a credit report from each of the agencies once per year or every 122 days if you rotate among the three agencies.
In this increasingly technological age, we all need to be aware of the potential for personal information to get in the wrong hands.
As always, do not hesitate to let us know of any questions or comments.