Portions of this articles were drawn from Consumer.ftc.gov, Irs.gov and Equifax.com
The Equifax data breach exposed the information of nearly half the population of the United States. There is a greater than normal likelihood your data is now in hackers’ hands. Unfortunately, in addition to long wait times when calling, another problem in the Equifax dispute is that you have to check with the company to find out if your data was exposed, and that means providing them with even more information (your last name and the last six digits of your social security number). But at the moment, that’s the only way to find out if you were affected by Equifax breach. To start the process, Equifax has set up a special website: www.equifaxsecurity2017.com.
Steps you can take to mitigate your personal risks to the Equifax data breach are listed below.
Check your credit reports from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Americans are entitled to one free credit report every year from all three major reporting agencies, accessible at annualcreditreport.com. Accounts or activity that you don’t recognize could indicate identity theft.
Equifax www.Equifax.com 800-525-6285
Experian www.Experian.com 888-397-3742
TransUnion www.TransUnion.com 800-680-7289
Consider placing a credit freeze on your files. A credit freeze makes it harder for someone to open a new account in your name. Keep in mind that a credit freeze won’t prevent a thief from making charges to your existing accounts. Also you will need to unfreeze your account if you apply for a loan (i.e.: college loans, car loans or a new line of credit). You can also access a sample letter to freeze your credit on the Clark Howard website.
Monitor your existing credit card and bank accounts closelyfor charges you don’t recognize.
If you decide against a credit freeze, consider placing a fraud alert on your accounts. A fraud alert warns creditors that you may be an identity theft victim and that they should verify that the person seeking credit in your name is really you.
File your taxes early— as soon as you have the tax information you need, before a scammer can. Tax identity theft happens when someone uses your Social Security number to get a tax refund or a job. Respond right away to letters from the IRS. (The IRS does NOT call individuals so do not respond if you receive one).
Arm yourself with information. For the IRS guide to identity theft visit gov/newsroom/taxpayer-guide-to-identity-theft. For additional information on what to do if you become a victim, visit Identitytheft.gov
See other Borgida & Company, P.C. blogs on identity theft. >>>