EQUIFAX CREDIT BREACH: WHAT TO DO NEXT
North Shore Trust and Savings understands the concern for your personal information due to the Equifax breach. We have compiled some facts that will help you become a well-informed consumer and, hopefully, sleep a little easier at night.
It is hard to prevent Identity Theft, but there are ways you can protect yourself:
- A Credit Freeze is the most effective protection, but also the most intrusive.
- Fraud Alerts provide a temporary ‘speed bump,’ slowing down identity thieves.
- Obtaining a free copy of your credit reports doesn’t prevent identity theft, but can help you find fraudulent activity.
This is being provided for informational purposes only. North Shore Trust and Savings is neither making recommendations of action or inaction, nor providing credit advice. It is important for you to consider what may be the best option for you.
- 143 million Americans had their Social Security number, birth date, address, and driver’s license number stolen from Equifax. This information can be used to open a new line of credit using your identity.
- Equifax and the other credit bureaus provide your personal data to your lender when you apply for a loan. Your lender may also provide data about your payment activities to the credit bureaus, but they already have your identifying information.
- 209,000 credit card numbers were stolen as well, but that doesn’t put your identity at risk.
- The official source of information from Equifax is https://equifaxsecurity2017.com. Beware of fake sites trying to take advantage of the situation. You can also call 1-866-447-7559. The call center is open every day (including weekends) from 7:00 a.m. – 1:00 a.m. Eastern Time.
- To see recommended courses of action the Federal Trade Commission has provided on the breach, please click here.
- Equifax is promoting their own credit monitoring service, TrustedID, free for one year but may require payment after that. LifeLock is a more well-known option for monitoring new credit applications under your identity, but it costs money.
- If you are not in the habit of checking your credit report, you may want to add this to your routine. You are entitled to one free credit report from each of the Big 3 credit bureaus per year by going to annualcreditreport.com
- If you suspect your information has been compromised, you may want to consider placing a fraud alert on your account. A fraud alert requires potential creditors to contact you and obtain your permission before opening new lines of credit in your name.
- A Credit Freeze is a more restrictive option. It’s more effective because it blocks all new credit applications under your identity, until you “unfreeze”. Again, a Credit Freeze blocks ALL new credit requests, both fraudulent requests and ones you may initiate yourself.