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Equifax Data Breach
On September 7, 2017, Equifax, one of the three major consumer credit reporting agencies, announced hackers had gained access to company data and personal information of approximately 143 million Americans has been compromised. The information includes Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and possibly driver’s license numbers. In addition, over 200,000 credit card numbers were accessed.
Equifax, stated the hackers gained access to certain files in the company’s system between mid-May to July of this year. Equifax learned of the breach on July 29, 2017.
We encourage everyone to take precautions in case you are one of the 143 million Americans who will be impacted by this breach. To find out if you are potentially impacted, please visit Equifax’s website: https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com .
In light of this breach or any breach, the Federal Trade Commission recommends to:
Check your credit reports from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — for free — by visiting www.annualcreditreport.com. Accounts or activity that you don’t recognize could indicate identity theft. Visit www.IdentityTheft.gov to find out what to do.
Consider placing a credit freeze on your files. A credit freeze makes it harder for someone to open a new account in your name. Keep in mind that a credit freeze won’t prevent a thief from making charges to your existing accounts.
Monitor your existing credit card and bank accounts closely for charges you don’t recognize and if available, set up security alerts.
If you decide against a credit freeze, consider placing a fraud alert on your files. A fraud alert warns creditors that you may be an identity theft victim and that they should verify that anyone seeking credit in your name really is you. https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0497-credit-freeze-faqs#place.
File your taxes early — as soon as you have the tax information you need, before a scammer can. Tax identity theft happens when someone uses your Social Security number to get a tax refund or a job. Respond right away to letters from the IRS.