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Equifax data breach - what you should know.

September 9th, 2017 11:37 AM by Sam Kader

Equifax, an Atlanta based company announced on September 7, 2017 that there may have been a breach of their database sometime between mid-May and the end of July. This breach puts 143 MILLION consumers at risk.

Here are some steps of what we can do to protect ourselves:

  • The first step is to check with Equifax website if your information has been compromised (see at the bottom).
  • If you are one of the 143 MILLION, sign up for the credit report monitoring service through Equifax.
  • Check your credit report.  You are entitled to a free copy of your credit report from each of the three credit bureuas each year.  Rather than request all three bureaus at the same time, request one from each bureau every 4 months.  That way you have a better chance of catching any problems more quickly.
  • Carefully monitor ALL of your accounts. If you discover an error on your report, contact the credit bureau reporting it immediately and ask to have it removed.  
  • Sign-up for purchase notifications. Many banks and credit card companies let you sign up for instant push notifications that'll let you know when your credit card is used to make a purchase. It may sound annoying but it gives you instant knowledge of who is using your credit card.
  • Invest on a good shredding machine. Do not stuffed credit card statements, receipts and credit card offer letters without shredding them first. "Dumpster Divers" might take that chance to turn your garbage into gold.
  •  Don't give out non-public personal information on the phone.  If you receive a phone call from a creditor asking you to provide your social security number or date of birth as confirmation, this likely can be a scam. 
  • Don't click on a link in an email from a creditor.  Many of these emails are phishing technique.
  • DO NOT carry your social security card in your wallet!
  • Consider setting up fraud alerts on your files. This option require creditors to contact you directly, usually by phone, for approval before allowing an account to be opened. That gives you a more active role, rather than passively monitoring or freezing your entire file. Bureaus also must contact each other when a fraud alert is placed.
  • Consider this is your last option. Do you know you can put a freeze on your credit reports by contacting each of the three credit bureaus? It is a nuclear option of credit protection and is the strongest possible action to protect your identity. It freezes your credit files (even from your own-self) with the 3 major credit bureaus making it impossible to open new account and bank cards under your name.
  • If you suspect someone has filed a tax return using your social security follow the instructions listed on the Internal Revenue Service website.  Here is the link for these instructions.
  • If you have been repeatedly a victim of identity fraud - you can request to change your Social Security number with the Social Security Administration.
For your convenience, listed below is the contact information for all three credit bureaus

 

 
EXPERIANTRANSUNIONEQUIFAX
PO BOX 4500PO BOX 2000PO BOX 740241
ALLEN, TX 75013CHESTER, PA 19016ATLANTA, GA 30374
888-397-3742800-888-4213800-685-1111
ExperianTransunionEquifax
Posted by Sam Kader on September 9th, 2017 11:37 AM

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