Recently, Equifax, one of the three main consumer credit reporting agencies, reported a massive data breach that has affected143 million Americans. These cyber criminals stole names, birth dates, Social Security Numbers, and, in some cases, credit card numbers and driver's license numbers. This means thatyou could be at risk for identity theft!


However, you can protect yourself by taking the following critical steps immediately:

  1. Visit Equifax's website, www.equifaxsecurity2017.com, to see if you may have been affected. Click on the tab that says "Am I Impacted?" and enter your last name and the last 6 digits of your Social Security Number. Make sure that you are using a secure computer and an encrypted internet connection to protect your Social Security Number.
  2. If the site identifies you as a potential victim, consider enrolling in TrustedID Premier which is a free service offered by Equifax to provide credit monitoring for up to 1 year. If you choose to enroll, you will be provided with an enrollment date to return to the website.The enrollment deadline is January 31, 2018. Please note that Equifax has identified that enrolling in TrustedID Premier does NOT waive your rights to a class action lawsuit and does NOT bind you to their arbitration clause.
  3. Check your credit reports from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion atwww.annualcreditreport.com. All consumers are entitled to one free copy from each of these credit reporting agencies a year. If you see any suspicious activity, you may have been a victim of identity theft and should visitwww.IdentityTheft.govfor more information.
  4. Consider placing a credit freezeon your files by contacting each of the three credit reporting agencies. This prevents creditors from accessing your credit report which makes it more difficult for scammers to open a new account in your name.  This does not affect your credit score, and you can temporarily lift the freeze at any time if you need to open a new account. Please note this does NOT protect you from scammers making changes to your existing accounts.
  5. Closely monitor all of your existing bank and credit card accounts for any withdrawals or charges that you did not authorize.
  6. If you decide not to request a credit freeze, consider placing a fraud alerton your files. This is a free service that warns creditors that you may have been the victim of identity theft and tells them that they should take additional steps to verify the identity of someone applying for an account using your name.
  7. File your taxes early! As soon as you have the information required to file your taxes, you should do so. This prevents a scammer from trying to use your information to steal your tax refund or obtain a job. To further minimize the risk, you should respond to any letters from the IRS as soon as possible.

Equifax Data Breach: Next Steps