The recent cyber security breach at Equifax has compromised the personally identifiable information [“PII”], including social security numbers and credit card details, of hundreds of thousands of individuals.
There are a number of steps you can take to identify whether your PII has been stolen. First, go to the Equifax TrustedID website to check the potential impact:
Important Consumer Information is available at:
You will need to input the last six digits of your social security number and your last name. You should be able to get an instant response from the site.
The second and most important step is to monitor your credit report. There are various companies that can offer this service – in fact, Equifax’s TrustedID is being offered free for a year. You should also check your credit report regularly yourself. You can get a free report for each of the credit bureaus listed below, but you can also go to:
Equifax Consumer Fraud Division, PO Box 740256,
Atlanta, GA 30374
Experian Fraud Center
P.O. Box 9554
Allen, TX 75013
Transunion Fraud Alert
TransUnion Fraud Victim Assistance Department,
P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA 19016
In reviewing your credit reports, should you notice any new lines of credit not applied for by you, you should dispute this immediately. Any fraudulent activity should also be reported to the credit bureaus immediately.
Thirdly, consider putting a freeze and fraud alert at all three of the above credit reporting agencies, if you suspect your PII has been stolen. Equifax is waiving any fees for this at the moment. Other credit bureaus may impose a fee.
Some red flags that may indicate a theft of your PII:
- Doctors send you a bill you for services you didn’t use.
- Merchants decline your check.
- The IRS notifies you that more than one tax return was filed in your name, or that you have income from an employer you don’t work for.
- You find unusual charges or new accounts on your credit report.
- You get calls from a collection firm about debts that aren’t yours.
- You see unexplained withdrawals from your bank account.
- You stop getting bills in the mail
- Your medical insurer declines a claim because their records show you’ve reached your benefits limit.
- Your medical insurer won’t cover you because your records show a condition you don’t have.
Please note that you may receive spoofing emails offering credit assistance. However, Equifax will only contact affected individuals by mail.
If you suspect your PII has been compromised you may wish to file an Identity Theft Affidavit and create an Identity Theft Report with the FTC. This can be done by phone, mail or online at:
1-877-ID THEFT (877-438-4338)
Federal Trade Commission, 600 Pennsylvania Ave., Washington DC 20580