Equifax estimates that the hack impacts 143 million Americans. The thieves stole names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and a yet-to-be-determined number of driver's license numbers.
The hackers also made off with 209,000 credit card numbers and 182,000 documents containing personally identifying information.
To check whether you have been impacted by the hack, Equifax has set up a website where you enter your last name and the last 6 digits of your Social Security Number. Please click on www.equifaxsecurity2017.com to check your potential impact. After entering the requested information, you will receive a message indicating whether you have been impacted by the hack.
Freezing your credit reporting will help stop any fraudulent credit cards or other loans from being issued to a 3rd party. It will also make it significantly more difficult for you to obtain credit/loans for yourself (but not impossible). This means that a lender must contact you to verify your identity before it issues credit in your name. You can place an alert on your report for free by contacting all 3 credit reporting bureaus (TransUnion, Experian & Equifax). . A freeze takes your credit report out of circulation. If someone else goes to take out a loan in your name, the lender will not be able to pull your report and therefore cannot extend the credit. If you want to take out a loan yourself, you'll have to contact the reporting agency to temporarily lift the freeze. Fees to freeze your account vary by state, but commonly range from $5 to $10.
The breach was not just credit-related. To be exact, it included names, Social Security Numbers, birth dates, addresses and driver's license numbers. With the hack including driver’s license info, be aware that you could be saddled with someone else’s speeding/parking ticket or other driving-related fines.
It can also lead to Social Security fraud and IRS tax-related fraud. We suggest to be on high alert for phishing emails or mailings. It also opens you up to fraudulent phone calls. Remember, the IRS never calls you.
Your accounts with us are unaffected, as no account numbers nor account information was part of the breach.
Our staff will continue with our heightened security procedures and verify all financial and informational requests verbally.
If you have any other questions, please contact your advisor or our office directly at (858) 552-6960.
At the very least, stay alert. Review your credit reports regularly (at least once per year, but more frequently in the near-term). You can request a copy of your credit report online at www.annualcreditreport.com. You are allowed a free copy once a year from each of the three credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. If you see any unauthorized activity, immediately report it to your bank and/or credit card company and the credit bureaus. If you believe you've been a victim of identity theft, you should also contact law enforcement.
For more information on identity theft, visit the Federal Trade Commission's website, www.ftc.gov/idtheft which also offers more information on how to protect yourself against fraud. Equifax has set up a call center: 866-447-7559.
You have many options. Some may include any or all of the following:
- Sign up through the Equifax site for one free year of credit monitoring through TrustedID Premier. Please be aware that they may auto-enroll you for another year after your free trial. It is also undetermined if you sign up for this monitoring service if you are waiving your right to take part in a class-action lawsuit or any other arbitration. Therefore, please be sure to read all of the details offered on the site before signing up.
- Sign up for some free credit monitoring tools such as "CreditKarma". There also paid services that are more robust such as "Lifelock". You may want to check if your credit cards offer any free credit monitoring. "AAA" also might offer similar services. While we are not endorsing any of these products, we do recommend that you monitor your credit and these are some options to do so.
- Call each of the three credit bureaus and freeze your credit. This can also be done online.
877-322-8228Or Click Here
888-397-3742Or Click Here
866-447-7559Or Click Here