What You Need to Know About the Equifax Security Breach
Equifax, one of three nationwide credit-reporting agencies, recently revealed to the public that it has had one of the largest cyber security breaches in history. The number of people affected by this breach is estimated to be roughly 143 million in the United States alone, as well as individuals in the UK and Canada.
Equifax said they believe the breach took place sometime between mid-May and July before being discovered on July 29. This means that hackers have accessed personal information such as credit card numbers, Social Security numbers, birth dates, drivers license numbers, and addresses.
Equifax is working to mail out notifications to individuals whose credit card information was compromised. In the meantime, anyone looking to determine if they might be at risk because of this breach can go to the website Equifax has created, www.equifaxsecurity2017.com and click on the “Potential Impact” tab. This will allow you to determine if your information may be compromised by entering your last name and the last six digits of your SSN. From there, you will have the option to enroll in the Equifax Trusted ID Premier service, which offers copies of your Equifax credit report, credit file monitoring, SSN monitoring and a credit report lock, which allows you to prevent access to your credit report by third parties.
We see little downside in enrolling for this protection, as Equifax is offering this service for free for one year. If you choose to enroll in this product, Equifax will provide you with the first available date you can register, usually several days after checking the “Potential Impact” tab. Note that Equifax has deleted its arbitration requirement from this service, allowing you to join a class action suit, if you so choose.
Additionally, you can either lock or freeze your credit reports until you have a better idea of how this breach impacts you. Often, credit locks are provided free of charge by the three credit-reporting agencies, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, but you will have to contact each agency independently. Unfortunately, credit freezes are not always provided for free and you may be subject to varying fees at each agency for this service. Contact information for all three credit reporting agencies is listed below.
Equifax – 800-846-5279
Experian – 888-397-3742
TransUnion – 800-916-8800
To discuss any questions or concerns you may have, please contact your WESCAP advisor.