Did you know that one hundred and forty three million Americans were impacted by the recent cyber security breach at Equifax? Equifax is one of a trio of big credit reporting agencies in America. USA citizens affected by this breach have lost their privacy because hackers have accessed their private information.
Equifax representatives have shared some facts about this extensive breach in cyber security. The breach itself commenced on May of 2017 and stopped in July of this year (2017).
Hackers were able to access so much personal and sensitive data, including addresses, birth dates, names and Social Security numbers! As well, these “cyber thieves” accessed credit card numbers for a whopping two hundred and nine thousand people. As if that weren’t bad enough, they also accessed dispute documents which included personal data from approximately one hundred and eighty-two thousand people. Some people in the United Kingdom and Canada also had personal details stolen.
Taking steps to protect your data will be a very smart strategy. Today, we want to let you know which steps are the most effective.
Were You a Victim?
To determine whether or not your private information was hacked during this cyber security breach, visit the official Equifax website (www.equifaxsecurity2017.com) today. The link that we just provided will lead to a Web page called, “potential impact”. When you click on that tab, you’ll be able to punch your last name and the final six numerals of your Social Security number into the system.
We don’t recommend adding this personal information unless you’re using a computer which is secure and a network connection which is encrypted.
After you submit this data, the system will determine whether or not your information was breached by hackers. Whether it was or wasn’t, you’ll be entitled to twelve months of credit monitoring which will be available to you at no charge. You’ll also be able to access other services. The official Equifax website will provide you with a date for enrollment in the free credit monitoring program and will also grant you access to other related services. Jot the date down on a piece of paper.
When the date rolls around, re-visit the website and then hit the “enroll” tab. Follow the steps in order to access the free services. Bear in mind that you’ll need to be a USA citizen in order to access these services.
What Else Should You Do?
As you can see, Equifax is trying to help. There is a system in place to assist consumers. Using this system will be your best first line of defense against security breach-related problems. However, there is more than you can do to protect your sensitive information and financial life.
Another tip is to look at credit reports from TransUnion, Experian and Equifax. You may access these credit reports without paying to see them. To view your credit reports, drop by the annualcreditreport.com website today. If you see strange activity in any of these credit reports, it may be sign that identity thieves are stealing from you. If you notice this type of activity, you should visit the official federal government Web page, IdentityTheft.gov, in order to get instructions on how to deal with the issue. You should definitely take action quickly if there is a problem.
Also, we think that you should give some thought to putting a credit freeze on your files. When you do so, it will be more difficult for another person to create new accounts that have your name on them. While a credit freeze won’t stop a criminal from altering your existing accounts, it will hinder the thief in some respects and this is a good thing!
When you opt for a credit freeze, you’ll be permitted to seal off credit reports and then utilize a PIN number that is known only to you, in order to thaw out your credit when you need to (such as when you want to apply for new credit or when services have to be processed). It’s an extra layer of security. When your request for a credit freeze is approved, you’ll find that it has no impact at all on your current credit lines, including your credit cards. Use them as you always do. You won’t run into any problems.
Also, use online banking services in order to monitor your bank accounts and credit card accounts. It should be easy to spot charges or withdrawals that you didn’t authorize.
Is a Fraud Alert Right For You?
If you don’t want to freeze your credit, you may want to think about putting a fraud alert on your accounts. This type of alert will let creditors know that you may be a victim of identity theft. The fraud alert may inspire creditors to verify that the person looking for credit is actually you, rather than some imposter.
Another smart suggestion is to file your taxes as soon as it’s possible to do so. You don’t want a scammer to file taxes under your name. Getting your return done and submitting it promptly may give you an advantage over shady characters who want to utilize your social security number in order to steal your tax refund…or get hired under your social security number.
If the IRS get in touch, respond rapidly.
Create a Plan of Action Today
Hopefully, these sensible tips have given you the step-by-step instructions that you need. Our goal is to empower you by letting you know the most practical way to secure your data after this massive breach. While the Equifax hacking incident was clearly disastrous, the government and credit bureaus are here to help Americans by offering them advice and services which are designed to restore or improve data security. When you get proactive by following these steps and suggestions, you’ll minimize the odds of identity theft and the financial problems that it tends to cause.
If you’ve been impacted by this security breach, you’ll do well to tighten up security in general. For example, put two-factor verification services on any email accounts of other digital accounts that offer this added layer of protection. Make things are hard for cyber thieves as you possibly can!