The Equifax Security Breach: Assume the Worst

The Equifax Security Breach: 
Assume the Worst

Typically, making assumptions is not good.  In the case of the Equifax security breach discovered on July 29, 2017?  Just the opposite is true. 

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ASSUME the worst and proactively take measures to protect yourself, your finances, and your credit history/credit scores.  Don't wait for confirmation yea or nay.  

With this recent breach of security at Equifax being so large (an estimated 143 million people are affected), chances are good that you will be receiving notification soon, as that number represents a whopping 50+% of the population.

The information/data stolen during this breach include:

  • Birth Dates
  • Social Security Numbers
  • Addresses
  • Driver's Licenses (on a small number of consumers)
  • Personal Identification Info (on approximately 182,000 consumers pursuing credit report disputes)
  • Credit Card Numbers (on approximately 209,000 people)

Note:  Equifax will be direct mailing an alert to only those consumers that:

  • Had their credit card numbers stolen
  • Were involved in credit disputes at the time of the breach
So again, act proactively in protecting yourself.  Do not wait for confirmation in any form from Equifax.

Presently, Equifax is suggesting that you visit their website to see if you've been affected by this breach ... and to sign-up for their credit monitoring service.  But as of this writing, the advantages of signing-up are unclear or small, at best.

The Equifax credit monitoring service does not become available until next week on Monday (9/11).  And there is conflicting advice as to the use of this service.  So make sure you thoroughly educate yourself to the pros and cons of the Equifax credit monitoring service ... or any other service (or action) you might take regarding this matter.  

Fraud Alerts and "Freezing" your credit are two such options.  (Definition of Credit Monitoring)

What can you do on your own immediately to protect yourself?
  • Pull your Credit at:  Make this routine.
  • Review/monitor your Credit Card Account Statements often and consistently
  • Review/monitor your Bank Account Statements often and consistently
  • You can also request your free copy of your Credit Report from each of the 3 main Credit Bureaus:  TransUnion, Experian, Equifax.  Continue to do so on a timely basis
  • When filing taxes:  File early before any scammer in possession of your Social Security Number does it.
  • Respond immediately to any letters/communications you receive from the IRS
  • Respond immediately to any letters/communications received from banks, credit cards companies, etc.
I can't stress the importance of taking these actions strongly enough.  Act proactively to protect yourself regarding any personal information or data of yours that may have been stolen in this breach.

Make it part of your routine to monitor all your accounts on a timely, consistent basis.  Pull your free credit report as they become available to you.  Seek ... and ask questions.

If you think you have suffered fraud:  Take action quickly.  Report it.  Don't assume anyone besides yourself will take responsibility for, address, or correct the issues that arise from this breach.  

The more quickly you act, the more quickly the problem is remedied ... 

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