What You and Your Clients Need to Do About the Equifax BreachSeptember 11, 2017
If you have a credit report, chances are you’re one of the 143 million American consumers whose sensitive personal information was exposed due to the data breach at Equifax.
According to Equifax, the data breach lasted from mid-May through July. Information accessed includes people’s names, social security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some instances, driver’s license numbers. Also stolen were credit card numbers of about 210,000 people and ‘dispute documents’ with personal identifying information for about 180,000 people.
This breach should be taken seriously. As such, we are recommending our clients take the following action:
1. VISIT THE EQUIFAX WEBSITE TO DETERMINE IF YOUR INFORMATION WAS EXPOSED
Visit www.equifaxsecurity2017.com. You will need to enter your last name and the last six digits of your SSN. Make sure you are on a secure computer and an encrypted network connection when accessing this site.
Whether your information was exposed, U.S. consumers can get a free year of credit monitoring and other services from Equifax. The site will provide a date you can enroll – note that enrollment for free monitoring services will expire on November 21, 2017
2. CHECK YOUR HOMEOWNER INSURANCE COMPANY TO DETERMINE IF ADDITIONAL ID THEFT SERVICES AND / OR CREDIT MONITORING SERVICES ARE AVAILABLE.
Clients insured with AIG, Cincinnati and Chubb: call IDT911/CyberScout, 866.860.1761. Select prompt 4 – ‘No fraud has occurred but information has been compromised.’ CyberScout will assist with enrollment in credit monitoring services specific to the Equifax breach and will provide detailed information (in addition to the information provided in this document)
Clients insured with Pure: call AllClear ID, 855.434.8077. AllClear ID, can set up credit monitoring and open up an investigation to assist with identity restoration. This service comes with a $0 deductible and requires the insured file a claim to receive these benefits.
Clients with Nationwide: contact your insurance agent to add Identity Theft Assistance coverage through Europ Assistance USA. This service requires the insured to file a claim to receive these benefits.
3. ADD A 90-DAY SECURITY ALERT TO YOUR CREDIT FILE WITH TRANSUNION
TransUnion will update Experian and Equifax within 24 hours – adding 90-day Security Alerts to your credit file held with all three credit bureaus.
4. CONSIDER PLACING A SECURITY 'FREEZE' ON YOUR CREDIT FILE
To prevent credit, loans and other services being opened in your name without permission. To add a security freeze, each credit bureau needs to be contacted separately. The security freeze can be added on-line or by phone and each credit bureau may charge a fee depending upon your situation and state law. (Please refer to ‘What to Expect when Adding a Security Freeze to my Credit Report’ included at the end of this document). To place a security freeze on your credit file, go to:
- Equifax: 800-349-9960 or Website: https://www.freeze.equifax.com/Freeze/jsp/SFF_PersonalIDInfo.jsp
- Experian: 888-397-3742 (option 2) or Website: https://www.experian.com/freeze/center.html
- TransUnion: 888-909-8872 or Website: http://www.transunion.com/credit-freeze/place-credit-freeze
5. REVIEW YOUR CREDIT REPORT FROM EACH OF THE THREE REPORTING BUREAUS
To ensure that no fraudulent activity currently exists. You can obtain a free copy of your credit report once a year by visiting www.annualcreditreport.com or by phone at 877.322.8228
6. LIMIT CREDIT REPORTING BUREAUS FROM SHARING YOUR CREDIT FILE INFORMATION WITHOUT YOUR AUTHORIZATION
By doing this, you can limit or remove the number of pre-screened offers from credit, insurance and telemarketing organizations. To opt out, visit www.optoutprescreen.com or call 888.567.8688
WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN ADDING A SECURITY FREEZE
Detailed below are a few things to keep in mind when placing a Security Freeze on your credit file:
- Adding a security freeze to your credit file may delay, interfere with or prohibit the timely approval of any request or application for a new loan, credit, mortgage, insurance, government services or payments, rental housing, employment, investment, license, cellular telephone, utilities, digital signature, Internet credit card transactions or other services, including an extension of credit at point of sale.
- Companies that you already have a business relationship with may view your credit report for account review purposes. A consumer’s information may be used for the purposes of prescreening as provided for by the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act, even if a security freeze is on the report.
- A security freeze is not 100% fail-safe. Creditors can issue credit without pulling a credit report.
- You will need to contact each credit bureau to add, temporarily lift or remove the security freeze from your credit file.
- You will be provided a personal identification number or password to use if you choose to temporarily lift or remove the security freeze from your file.
- Each credit bureau may charge you a fee to add, temporarily lift or remove the security freeze from your credit file based on state law.
- The credit bureau has three business days after the receipt of your request to lift or remove a security freeze.