The consumer credit reporting bureau Equifax announced on Thursday, September 7th a major data breach affecting approximately 143 million Americans. The hackers accessed people’s names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some instances, driver’s license numbers. They also stole credit card numbers for about 209,000 people and dispute documents with personal identifying information for about 182,000 people.
There are steps that you can take to help protect your information from being misused.
- First find out if your information was exposed. Visit Equifax’s website and go to the “Potential Impact” tab
- Check your credit reports (https://www.annualcreditreport.com/index.action)
- Monitor your existing credit card and bank accounts closely for charges you don’t recognize
- File your taxes early
Remember that fraudsters may use this data breach to defraud consumers who may or may not have been affected. Always be careful about who you share any personal, account, or card information with.
For more information the FTC has a great article that outlines each step you can take to protect your information - https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2017/09/equifax-data-breach-what-do.