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    Security September: Equifax, What Happened? Am I Affected? What Can I Do?

    If you have recently checked on your credit report, there is a chance that you are one of 143 million U.S. customers whose sensitive information (such as Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses, driver’s license numbers, etc.) was exposed by a cyber attach on Equifax. Equifax is one of three major credit reporting agencies in the nation. For my wife and I she was not compromised where I was. I went ahead and put the fraud alert on my credit through the Experian site, it was very easy and I was all finished in under 5 minutes.  I still need to go complete a police report so I can get 4 years free fraud alert. 

    A website has been set up that consumers can use to determine whether their information was compromised. They are also offering free credit-file monitoring and identity-theft protection. You are able to check if your information has been compromised from their site without worry, but keep in mind that the terms of use for their credit-file monitoring or identity-theft protection services offered stat that by signing up, you waive your legal rights to a class action lawsuit against Equifax.

     

    The website you can check your status is www.equifaxsecurtity2017.com. This site will contain updated progress on the situation. You can check your own status by scrolling to the bottom and clicking on Potential Impact. It will ask you to enter your last name and the last 6 digits of your Social Security number. Once entered, if you see either of the following messages, it means that your information was stolen:

    “Thank you — Based on the information provided, we believe that your personal information may have been impacted by this incident…”

     

    “Thank you — Your enrollment date for TrustedID premiere is: xxxxxx Please be sure to mark your calendar…”

     

    Reminder, DO NOT OPT IN to PremierID unless you want to waive your right to a class action lawsuit.

     

    Either of the above messages mean that your Social Security number, date of birth, full address and driver’s license have been stolen. If you were included on the list of potential victims, file a CFPB complaint against Equifax here: www.consumerfinance.gov.

     

    Here’s What to Do.

     

    The safest option for everyone right now is to place an initial 90 day fraud alert on your file. This is free and will require lenders to contact you if someone (including yourself) tries to apply for credit. This only needs to be done with one bureau in order for the alert to be placed on all three. 

     

    Equifax (www.alerts.equifax.com/auto_fraud_online/jsp/fraudalert.jsp)

    Experian (https://www.experian.com/fraud/center.html)

    Transunion (https://www.transunion.com/fraud-victim-resource/place-fraud-alert)

    The choice is yours on who to place the alert with. All things considered, Experian or Transunion may be the better options. Also, check your file at www.annualcreditreport.com. This is a government-mandated website that allows you to pull each report once every 12 months.

     

    If you were a victim of identity theft, a crime was committed. Here are some steps to help you:

    • File a police report at your local station.
    • Freeze your files with all three credit bureaus (this is different than a fraud alert and is free with a valid police report.)
    • Fill out a 14039 form and send it to the IRS.

    Stay safe out there!

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