Equifax, one of the three credit monitoring services, admitted recently that hackers gained access to the sensitive identify and financial information in their database for 143 million people (44% of the U.S. population). The hackers exploited a website weakness from mid-May to July. Equifax learned of the intrusion on July 29th but did not disclose the information to the public until 40 days later on September 7th. The credit breach is about as bad as you could expect a breach to be. Much of the data acquired is timeless information that could be used for years.
What information may have been impacted?
The information accessed primarily includes names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some instances, driver’s license numbers. Criminals also accessed credit card numbers for approximately 209,000 U.S. consumers, and certain dispute documents with personal identifying information for approximately 182,000 U.S. consumers. As part of our investigation of this application vulnerability, we also identified unauthorized access to limited personal information for certain UK and Canadian residents. We have found no evidence that personal information of consumers in any other country has been impacted.
This article shows how to enroll in Equifax’s Free Credit Monitoring. Other articles will include other steps which you should take.
Equifax has established a website to post progress updates for consumers at: https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/.
From that page you can click on “Enroll” to begin the process of enrolling in Equifax’s free credit monitoring. Next click on “Begin Enrgollment”. You will be asked to enter your “Last Name” and the “Last 6 Digits of Social Security Number”. Finally you will be asked to verify that you are not a robot, and then click “Continue”.
You will most likely receive a reply that your personal information may have been impacted by this incident. I suspect that everyone in their database has been impacted.
Click on the “Enroll” button.
A webpage will then ask you for your name, date of birth, Social Security Number, Gender, and contact information. Finally you can click “Continue”. You will receive a confirmation screen like this.
Here is what is included in the TrustedID Premier Service
- 3-Bureau Credit File Monitoring: Credit file monitoring and automated alerts of key changes to your Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion credit files.
- Equifax Credit Report Lock: Allows you to prevent access to your Equifax credit report by third parties, with certain exceptions.
- Social Security Number Scanning: Searches suspicious web sites for your Social Security number.
- Equifax Credit Report: A copy of your Equifax Credit Report.
- $1MM Identity Theft Insurance: Up to $1 million in ID theft insurance. Helps pay for certain out-of-pocket expenses in the event you are a victim of identity theft.
None of these services makes up for the fact that your sensitive information has been accessed. And after this breach you should assume that every scam artist has all of your information.