Equifax Breach: Protect Yourself
The Equifax data breach affected approximately 143 million individuals and you may be one of them. There are three companies that collect your personal and credit information to prepare a credit report on you. They are TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian. Lenders and other rely on these three credit agencies to evaluate your credit. This makes the credit breach at Equifax is significant.
Will the breach affect me?
Hackers accessed names, social security numbers, birth dates, and and in some instances even driver license numbers. This personal identifiable information is often used to set up loans or credit cards in your name. In addition to the personal data, the hackers also grabbed credit card numbers. So you current credit card could be subject to fraud or hackers might use your information to open new accounts in your name.
You must be proactive in protecting your information and credit from misuse. If you become a victim of identity theft it can lead bad credit, the inability to get a loan, or even financial ruin.
How can I tell if I was affected?
There are several step to take to protect yourself. The first is to determine if your personal information was likely exposed by the Equifax breach. Equifax has set up a link on their website for you to check. It is recommended that you monitor your credit reports frequently.
How can I protect myself?
Federal law provides each U.S. consumer the right to get a free credit report from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion every 12 months. It is recommended you get a free report from all three credit reporting agencies. You should review the information on your credit report for accuracy. Errors in your credit report can affect your ability to get a car loan, credit card, or even housing.
Equifax is offering a free year of credit monitoring. You must enroll by November 21, 2017. You can also place a credit freeze on your files making it more difficult for fraud to occur. If you don’t want to place a credit freeze on your file you can opt for a fraud alert.
You should also review your bank and credit card statements carefully for any unauthorized use. Filing your taxes early is another way be proactive in protecting yourself from Tax Identity theft. Review claims on your health insurance to ensure that you have not be subjected to Medical Identity Theft.
What if I am a victim of Identity Theft?
If you are a victim of Identity Theft you may want contact a lawyer to help you unravel this complicated situation. Call or Text the Texas Lawyer Referral Service to find a lawyer near you that can help.