Last Thursday, Equifax revealed a security breach, that began in May and continued until it was discovered in late July, exposing the names, social security numbers, birth dates and home addresses for up to 143 million Americans.
According to news reports, the hackers exploited a “website application vulnerability” and obtained the personal data about American as well as British and Canadian consumers.
Equifax is offering free identity theft protection and credit file monitoring services for those who are affected. Information can be found at: www.equifaxsecurity2017.com or Equifax has a phone line for consumers to call if they have questions relating to the hacking incident at 866-447-7559.
In light of this situation and with the full scope of this breach still unfolding, please feel free to use the following tips to educate yourself on how to better protect your identity:
- Consider placing a credit freeze on your files to make it difficult for someone to open a new account in your name.
- Check your credit reports. Identify what information it contained and look for any unusual activity that could indicate identity theft.
- Pay extra attention to your account and billing statements. Check for unauthorized charges.
- Change all user access credentials. If you use the same passwords for all financial institutions, change them. Watch out for suspicious email, phone and snail-mail scams. Enable text and email alerts and turn on two-factor authentication when possible.
For additional tips and resources, visit www.cyberscout.com/knowledgecenter to learn about the best ways to minimize your risk and help protect your personal information.