Equifax Breach: Protect Yourself
The Equifax data breach affected approximately 143 million individuals, and you may be one of them. Three companies collect your personal and credit information to prepare a credit report on you. They are TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian. Lenders and others rely on these three credit agencies to evaluate your credit. It means that the credit breach at Equifax is significant.
Will the Breach Affect Me?
If you have ever purchased a car, had a bank loan, or credit card there is a good chance this breach has affected you. However, you may not discover how the breach has impacted you until much later.
Hackers accessed names, social security numbers, birth dates, and in some instances even driver license numbers. This personally 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 your 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. Identity theft can lead to bad credit, the inability to get a loan, or even financial ruin.
How Can I Tell if I was Affected by Equifax Credit Breach?
There are several steps to take to protect yourself. The first thing is to determine if your personal information was likely exposed to the Equifax breach. Equifax has set up a link to their website for you to check. You should monitor your credit reports frequently and check your credit score to catch any suspicious activity.
Check Your Credit Score to Protect Yourself
Federal law provides each U.S. consumer the right to get a free credit report from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion every 12 months. You can request a free report from all three credit reporting agencies. You should review the information on your credit report for accuracy. Moreover, 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. Also, if you don’t want to put 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. Furthermore, medical identity theft is another type of identity theft. Reviewing your insurance claims is essential.
What If I Am a Victim of Identity Theft or Equifax Breach?
If you are a victim of Identity Theft, you may want to contact a lawyer to help you unravel this complicated situation. Contact the Texas Lawyer Referral Service to find a lawyer near you that can help.