Have You Been Affected by the Equifax Data Breach?
As you are aware, Equifax released a statement on September 7 stating that they suffered a devastating data breach involving private consumer information during May through July 2017. The original statement estimated that 143 million United States consumers were likely to be impacted. On October 2, the cybersecurity firm Mandiant completed its forensic portion of the investigation and raised that number an additional 2.5 million for a total of 145.5 million people impacted by the breach.
Affected consumers should have received notification either by email or mail. However, if you did not receive notification but would like to investigate further, you can visit a website created specifically to address the data breach, Equifax Security, to determine whether your information has been compromised. On the site, select “Enroll” then enter your last name and the last six digits of your Social Security number. If it is determined that you may be affected, there are steps you can take to minimize any impact.
In response to the data breach, Equifax is allowing all U.S. consumers to enroll in the Trusted ID Premier monitoring program for one year free of charge. This program includes credit monitoring for all three bureaus – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion – as well as copies of credit reports, the ability to lock and unlock credit reports, identity theft insurance and internet scanning for Social Security numbers. For more information on this program, you can contact Equifax directly at (877) 322-8228 which has a dedicated call center to answer any questions and to assist anyone affected. You can also visit their website which has a prominent link to the cybersecurity incident website.
In addition, consumers have the option to place a credit file lock on their credit file or even “freeze” their credit file for each of the three credit bureaus. This prevents new creditors from accessing locked or frozen credit reports unless given specific permission by the consumer. The service is being offered for free by Equifax but Experian and TransUnion will charge a nominal fee each time your report is locked/unlocked or frozen/unfrozen.
Barfield, Murphy, Shank & Smith is here to assist you in any way that we can. Please contact our office if you have any questions regarding the impact to you or your business. Contact information for each of the credit bureaus is listed below.
PO Box 740241
Atlanta, GA 30374
PO Box 9554
Allen, TX 75013
PO Box 2000
Chester, PA 19016