What do you know about the Equifax data breach?
According to Equifax, the breach lasted from mid-May through July. The hackers accessed people’s names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some cases, driver’s license numbers. They also stole credit card numbers for about 209,000 people and dispute documents with personal identifying information for about 182,000 people. Hackers also accessed information of people in the United Kingdom and Canada, although Equifax isn’t reporting how many.
How can I protect myself?
Visit Equifax at www.equifax.com or call 866-447-7559. Also, consider signing up for an identity theft monitoring service. There are many services available that can help secure your identity. Equifax is offering consumers one year of free credit monitoring, however, some media outlets are reporting that signing up for this service through Equifax may limit some of your rights.
- Check your credit report for free by visiting www.annualcreditreport.com. Accounts or activity that you don’t recognize could indicate identity theft.
- Monitor your existing credit card and bank accounts closely for charges you don’t recognize.
- Consider placing a fraud alert or credit freeze on your files. A fraud alert warns creditors that you might be a victim of identity theft. A credit freeze makes it harder for someone to open new accounts in your name. You can place a fraud alert by contacting the following Credit Bureaus:
- Watch out for email phishing attacks. Data breaches often generate phishing attempts in which thieves pose as the affected company to trick you into giving up your personal information.
- Enroll your Credit Card or Debit Card for real time Alerts. Alerts can be received via text or email. Online banking has additional alerts available.
If you notice any fraudulent activity on your accounts, please report it as soon as possible by calling us at 865-688-2424. Additional information on the Equifax data breach is available from the Federal Trade Commission at this website: