Equifax, an Atlanta based company announced on September 7, 2017 that there may have been a breach of their database sometime between mid-May and the end of July. This breach puts 143 MILLION consumers at risk. Let's put that in perspective, that is almost HALF of the population. So what will the hackers do with this information, well the possibilities are endless and the financial cost to the consumer can be staggering. With hackers now having access to names, social security numbers, addresses, birth dates, etc. they have all of the information necessary to apply for credit. The obvious types would be credit cards, auto loans, personal loans, mortgages, etc. But in recent years, there has been a surge in tax fraud too. Imagine a bogus tax return being filed with the Internal Revenue Service using your social security number!!
How can you find out if you are one of the 143 MILLION??? The first step will be to check the Equifax website, here is the link, CHECK MY INFO to find out if you are at risk.
Identity theft continues to be a threat for all costing Americans millions. Here are some suggestions for you to consider to protect yourself:
- Check your credit report! You are entitled to a copy of your credit report from each of the three credit bureuas each year. Rather than request all three at the same time, request one every 4 months. That way you have a better chance of catching any problems more quickly.
- If you are one of the 143 MILLION, sign up for the credit report monitoring service Equifax will be offering.
- Carefully monitor ALL of your accounts!
- Don't give out non-public personal information on the phone. If you receive a phone call from a creditor asking you to provide your social security number or date of birth as confirmation, this likely can be a scam. Protect this information!!
- DO NOT carry your social security card in your wallet!
- Do you know you can put a freeze on your credit reports by contacting each of the three credit bureaus? This is a simple process and can stop someone from opening a new account in your name.
- If you discover an error on your report, contact the credit bureau reporting it immediately and ask to have it removed.
- Don't click on a link in an email from a creditor. Many of these emails are ph
- If you suspect someone has filed a tax return using your social security follow the instructions listed on the Internal Revenue Service website. Here is the link for these instructions.
For your convenience, listed below is the contact information for all three credit bureaus
|PO BOX 4500||PO BOX 2000||PO BOX 740241|
|ALLEN, TX 75013||CHESTER, PA 19016||ATLANTA, GA 30374|
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The opinions and general information in this blog are soley those of Kathy Sheehan. Specifics regarding an individual case should be discussed in detail with a loan professional. For a confidential consultation, please feel free to contact me via phone or email. All terms and conditions are subject to change.