Credit reporting agency Equifax announced last Thursday that hackers had gained unauthorized access to files from mid-May through July, potentially compromising personal information including names, addresses, Social Security numbers and dates of birth for about 143 million U.S. consumers, roughly 55% of Americans age 18 or older. Due to the vital nature of the data included in the breach, this represents potentially the most damaging wide-spread hack to date for consumers. We recommend that you consider taking the following steps to protect your credit:
- Check the Equifax website, www.equifaxsecurity2017.com, to see if your data may have been included in the breach. If so, sign up for one year of free credit monitoring and identity theft protection through Equifax. The offering, called TrustedID Premier, includes credit file monitoring and automated alerts of key changes to your Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion credit files. It also allows you to lock your Equifax credit report to prevent access to your file by third parties, searches suspicious web sites for your Social Security number, and provides up to $1 million in identity theft insurance coverage.
- Check your credit report. Reports containing information from Equifax, Experian and TransUnion are available free annually through the website www.annualcreditreport.com. Be on the lookout for any accounts that you do not recognize.
- Check bank and credit card statements carefully for any unauthorized activity.
- If you believe that you may have been a victim of identity theft, visit the Identity Theft Resource Center at www.idtheftcenter.org, or call the center, toll-free, at 888-400-5530. All of the center’s services are free.
We, at Mortgage Network, take data security very seriously and we urge consumers to do likewise. While you may not be able to prevent identify theft entirely, you should be aware of the threat and be prepared to act quickly if you suspect your personal data or accounts have been compromised. The sooner you take action, the easier it will be to resolve any issues.