Did thieves steal your private information from Equifax?
If you don’t know the answer, you should. I’ll tell you how to find out below.
Are you taking steps to protect your money and your credit? It’s not too late. I have compiled information to
guide you in taking the most important steps in protecting yourself from financial fraud. Equifax has set up a
website to enable you to know if you were affected by the breach.
What To Do Immediately:
Place a Security Freeze with each of the four credit reporting agencies. With your credit reports frozen, banks
and other lenders will be unable to pull a credit report on you if someone fraudulently tries to use your stolen
information to get a credit card or loan. Below are links for requesting a credit freeze from each agency.
• Equifax Security Freeze
• TransUnion Security Freeze
• Experian Security Freeze
• Innovis Security Freeze
You can decide the length of time the freeze is in place. It is vital to file a separate report with each agency.
*Please Note: If you are unable to complete the process online, or prefer to do this by phone, here are the numbers you can call:
• Equifax Security Freeze: 866-447-7559
• TransUnion Security Freeze: 888-909-8872
• Experian Security Freeze: 1-888-397-3742
• Innovis Security Freeze: 1-800-540-2505
In addition, place a security freeze with ChexSystems. A majority of both banks and credit unions in the US use ChexSystems to screen their new customers. This is completely free for everyone and deters thieves from opening a bank account in your name. Place a freeze by clicking here or reach them by phone at 800-887-7652.
Review a copy of your own credit report to look for any newly opened fraudulent accounts. You are entitled
to one free copy of your credit report each year from each of the agencies at www.annualcreditreport.com
Another thing to think about, is signing up for a credit monitoring service. There are services that provide daily monitoring and alerts when anything suspicious occurs.
*Use a service with “3 bureau” monitoring. American Express customers may want to
consider CreditSecure Unlimited and USAA members may want to consider USAA CreditCheck
Monitoring. Otherwise, compare the paid “3 bureau” credit monitoring options from Equifax, Experian,
TransUnion, and MyFICO.
Keep an eye on your accounts! Set up text or email alerts with your bank and credit cards for things like: “address changes”, “failed log-in attempts” and/or “suspicious activity” so that you can be notified immediately if something suspicious occurs.
Notify the IRS immediately if you believe your tax information was stolen, or you believe that someone has
already filed (or may try to file) a fraudulent tax return in your name. You can contact the IRS Identity Protection
Specialized Unit at 1-800-908-4490 if you need further assistance. More helpful information is available online here…
Stay calm. By freezing your credit and and taking the other steps listed, you will be much harder to victimize.
Thieves will spend their time looking for easier victims. It’s like the joke about encountering a bear on a hike:
getting away just means running faster than the other guy. Once you have put yourself in control, just take
things step by step, and be vigilant.
Keep good records of the steps you took, when you took them, and who you sent things to. Take notes and
document everything because if you ever have troubles resulting from identity theft, good documentation will
make your life a lot easier.
Let me know if you have any additional questions and/or concerns!