Identity Theft Alert
Equifax, along with TransUnion and Experian, are the three top credit reporting bureaus in America. It is an industry with few protections for consumers. Storing the most sensitive of personal information they are an identity thief’s dream come true. Now, a major security breach of Equifax is putting 143 million Americans at risk.
Even worse, the breach happened months ago and they never said a word.
According to reports, the hack began back in May but Equifax wasn’t aware of it until July. However, it took them another six weeks to make the public aware of the breach. The company will finally be alerting affected consumers, all 143 million, by mail. But, for many it will be too little, too late.
Among the data stolen are birthdates, social security numbers, and home addresses. Additionally, Equifax is reporting that driver’s license and credit card numbers for up to 200,000 are vulnerable. This puts people, maybe even you, in danger of being a victim of identity fraud and other crimes.
What You Can Do
Technology seems like a life saver in today’s hustle and bustle world. Shopping from home during the busy holiday season or ordering groceries online for easy pick-up, is convenient. But, convenience comes with a heavy price. If nothing else, it requires consumers to be proactive rather than reactive.
Nevertheless, given Equifax’s delay in notifying consumers, that might be difficult in this situation. But, rather than waiting for an ominous notice via snail mail, you can take steps to protect yourself now. A good first-step would be to contact Equifax by phone at 866 349-5191. The agency also has a website addressing the breach.
Incidentally, Equifax is offering complimentary identity theft protection and credit file monitoring. Which we must say, is a bit ironic. After all, it took them four months to disclose a major hack to the public, right? Nonetheless, IF you are interested, you can check your eligibility for the program here.