The Equifax breach is potentially very serious as the personal information of nearly 1 of every 2 Americans has been compromised. Access to your most personal information is at risk including your names, Social Security numbers, credit card numbers, address, driver’s license, birth dates. The breach happened in late spring but was just recently disclosed. Equifax has offered that individuals can go to the following website:
type in their names and the last 6 digits of their social security number to see if their identity was part of the breach. However, there have been problems with the site and it may be safer to assume that you have been affected and to be extra safe, take the following steps.
- Run a credit report on yourself at AnnualCreditReport.com. This is a free report that you can get each year. Review it closely to make sure that no one has fraudulently applied for credit using your information.
- Next, you will need to be vigilant with your existing credit. It would be a good idea to monitor your credit accounts and bank accounts for unusual activity as often as weekly to ensure no fraudulent charges have appeared.
- Finally, consider putting a freeze on your credit information. This will prevent potential creditors from accessing your credit data - which is typically the first step taken when credit has been applied for. If a potential creditor can’t access your credit information, they will not approve the credit. You will have to pay a small fee to do this and you need to contact each of the 3 credit bureaus listed below.
If you freeze your credit, please be aware that if you want to apply for credit, rent an apartment, or even apply for a job, you will need to unfreeze, or “thaw” it to allow the required credit checks.
You can go to the 3 credit reporting companies and put a freeze on your credit.
Equifax www.equifax.com 1-800-349-9960
Experian www.experian.com 1-888-397-3742
TransUnion www.transunion.com 1-888-909-8872