Yesterday, Equifax, a major credit reporting agency, announced that personal information from as many as 134 million people was breached during the period from May to July of 2017. This information includes names, birthdates, social security numbers, addresses and driver license numbers. In addition, many other customers had their credit card information compromised as well as consumer dispute information.
A CNN/Money web article offers some good suggestions for consumers that may be concerned about the impact of this breach.
In general, consumers may want to consider a credit file monitoring service for their credit file and identity theft protection Equifax is offering such a service for one year at no cost. Consumers may sign up for the service by going to Equifax and clicking on the Check Potential Impact tab.
In addition, you should start to review your credit card statements and bank account statements. If you see any activity that may look suspicious, you should immediately contact your bank or credit card company. If you see any signs of I.D. theft, contact law enforcement immediately.
You may also want to consider placing fraud alerts on your credit reports with each of the three major credit bureaus. You can also freeze your credit, which requires a lender to contact you before offering new credit.
One note of caution regarding the offers of services from Equifax. Anyone who uses the credit monitoring service thru Equifax must agree to submit any complaints about it to arbitration. Those using the services wouldn’t be able to join a class action law suit or benefit from any settlement. Under pressure from consumer groups, Equifax added an opt out clause so that customers may opt out by notifying Equifax in writing within 30 days of accepting the monitoring service.
Finally, if you are looking for more information, you may obtain that information from the Federal Trade Commission at their web site.