Equifax Breach: What Happened And How Can You Protect Yourself?

On September 8, 2017, Equifax, one of the major credit reporting agencies, announced a 8480c-hackerbreach from mid-May through July 2017.  During this period, hackers accessed people’s names, social security numbers, birth dates, addresses, drivers license numbers, and credit card numbers.

Equifax has set up a Web site — https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com — that anyone concerned can visit to see if they may be impacted by the breach. The site also lets consumers enroll in TrustedID Premier, a 3-bureau credit monitoring service (Equifax, Experian and Trans Union) which also is operated by Equifax.

According to Equifax, when you begin, you will be asked to provide your last name and the last six digits of your Social Security number. Based on that information, you will receive a message indicating whether your personal information may have been impacted by this incident. Regardless of whether your information may have been impacted, the company says it will provide everyone the option to enroll in TrustedID Premier. The offer ends Nov. 21, 2017.

In addition, you should closely monitor your accounts with financial institutions.  At Destinations, you can set up a “code” word that you will be asked whenever you call in to perform a transaction.  To do that, log into your Online Banking and go to “Info Center” –> “Personal Information” and click the Edit button.  This will allow you to add a code word.  As an additional security measure, you will receive a message in the e-mail you have on record with Destinations to notify you that personal information has been changed.

As always, you should get your free credit reports from all three credit bureaus at least annually.  You can get them all at once or request each at different times of the year.  To get your free credit reports, go to annualcreditreport.com to get yours.

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