Loans By Kathy: 50/50 Chance for Identity Theft - What you can do?

50/50 Chance for Identity Theft - What you can do?

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

 
EXPERIAN TRANSUNION EQUIFAX
PO BOX 4500 PO BOX 2000 PO BOX 740241
ALLEN, TX 75013 CHESTER, PA 19016 ATLANTA, GA 30374
888-397-3742 800-888-4213 800-685-1111
Experian Transunion Equifax
 

 

 

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Kathy Sheehan Senior Loan Officer

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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.

 

Comment balloon 70 commentsKathy Sheehan • September 08 2017 12:48PM

Comments

Kathy, this is very scary for all of us, and all of us should be watching our accounts and credit report.

Posted by Joan Cox, Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time (Metro Brokers - House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373) about 1 year ago

This is only going to get worse...it is why I do little to no business on the internet and have NO personal info on my computer

Posted by William Feela, Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No. (WHISPERING PINES REALTY) about 1 year ago

Joan, this is a real threat for all of you.  We all need to be vigilant in monitoring our credit.  Thanks for your comment.

Posted by Kathy Sheehan, Senior Loan Officer (Bay Equity, LLC 770-634-4021) about 1 year ago

William, that is a good practice! Thanks for your comment.

Posted by Kathy Sheehan, Senior Loan Officer (Bay Equity, LLC 770-634-4021) about 1 year ago

Kathy thank you so much for putting this together.  I wasn't sure what to do but with 1 in 2 of us being comprised this is extremly important info to have - thank you!

Posted by Anna Banana Kruchten CRB, CRS 602-380-4886, Arizona's Top Banana! (Phoenix Property Shoppe) about 1 year ago

So far it hasn't happened to us but it seems like it is just a matter of time.

Posted by Joe Pryor, REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties (The Virtual Real Estate Team) about 1 year ago

Anna, it is my pleasure!  It is going to be heartbreaking when someone is a victim and only discover it when they try to apply for some type of credit.

Posted by Kathy Sheehan, Senior Loan Officer (Bay Equity, LLC 770-634-4021) about 1 year ago

Joe, I can tell you from personal experience it can be a nightmare to deal with the aftermath.  It took me years to get it cleared up!  I wouldn't wish that on anyone!

Posted by Kathy Sheehan, Senior Loan Officer (Bay Equity, LLC 770-634-4021) about 1 year ago

                    Featured in BananaTude Group - A MUST READ for all

 

 

Posted by Anna Banana Kruchten CRB, CRS 602-380-4886, Arizona's Top Banana! (Phoenix Property Shoppe) about 1 year ago

Oh dear. This is very concerning. Thank you for sharing! 

Posted by Corey Martin, Real Estate and Management Solutions (Martin Presence Group) about 1 year ago

Love to see content from Loan Officers and Title Agents.

Posted by Luke Acree, Making Agents Memorable (ReminderMedia) about 1 year ago

GREAT information that should be shared with every American, Kathy!!  Thank GOD we keep ours locked down at all times, unless we are applying for a mortgage! It's the only way to truly avoid issues and I'm so thankful that we started doing this 7 or 8 years ago.

Posted by Debe Maxwell, CRS, Charlotte Homes for Sale - Charlotte Neighborhoods (www.iCharlotteHomes.com | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310) about 1 year ago

Thanks for the information Kathy Sheehan. It is scarey that someone was able to compromise Equifax like that. 

Posted by Sybil Campbell, REALTOR® ABR, SFR, SRES Williamsburg, Virginia (Long and Foster REALTORS® 5234 Monticello Ave Williamsburg, Virginia) about 1 year ago

EVERYONE should know about this, Kathy. This is truly a scary breach of confidential information. I saw that there is a huge class action law suit against Equifax, too. I will be sharing tips with all my clients and my sphere.

Jeff

Posted by Jeff Dowler, CRS, The Southern California Relocation Dude - Carlsbad (Solutions Real Estate ) about 1 year ago

Hi Kathy - Thanks for the heads up and the links. This is going to be quite a mess.

Posted by Dick Greenberg, Northern Colorado Residential Real Estate (New Paradigm Partners LLC) about 1 year ago

Hi Kathy Sheehan my Amex Gold was compromised twice last year.... what a sick feeling it was.... I was horrified... they were so good to me.... I've been a cardholder with them since '83 and this had never happened before.... today my Visa Card had a $1.75 purchase at Lowe's and it wasn't mine.... I haven't been in a Lowes in years... no I need to wait for a new card.... they canceled my existing card.... oh, how I hate this.

Posted by Barbara Todaro, "Franklin MA Homes" (RE/MAX Executive Realty ) about 1 year ago

 Hi Kathy - Anna has told me about this and taken action immediately to go into lock down mode. We appreciate you getting the word out.

Posted by Gary 'Banana' Houghtaling, Phoenix Real Estate Agent (Phoenix Property Shoppe) about 1 year ago

While we need to watch any irregularity in our credit rpt, this is a bit blown out of proportion.  At work before my scretary knew everyone's # which was used as employee #. They hang time sheets in open for filling time sheet. It is a good idea to get a different credit card from same company so as to void past card #.  Now is the wake up time to reduce credit cards to minimum use.  At Lowes they told me my credit card which I never wanted to use was closed after inactivity.  

Posted by Sam Shueh, mba, cdpe, reopro, pe ( (408) 425-1601) about 1 year ago

Sometime in the past there was another person sharing same social secuity as mine. IRS sent me 1099s that were not mine.  We straighten out the mixed up.  I think someone filled out a social security incorrectly to avoid paying income tax.

As to my FICO score, Equafax I do not worry much. 

Posted by Sam Shueh, mba, cdpe, reopro, pe ( (408) 425-1601) about 1 year ago

YAWN -- sounds like a bait and switch to me.  When I read this on their website, it sounds like it's their marketing for their product "TrustedID Premier."  I'm sure it comes with a monthly fee.

  1. Regardless of whether your information may have been impacted, we will provide you the option to enroll in TrustedID Premier. You will receive an enrollment date. You should return to this site and follow the “How do I enroll?” instructions below on or after that date to continue the enrollment and activation process. The enrollment period ends on Tuesday, November 21, 2017.

I only got to the point where they wanted the SIX digits of my social and I stopped there.   There is a fee connected to this enrollment.

So much for their "security" if they got hacked, and they want me to pay for their product?!?  Not going to happen.  I

So, it sounds as if they want people to crawl out from under their bed, and sign up for their product.  Pathetic way to conduct business, if you ask me.  But, fear porn is a hot commodity.  

Posted by Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED (RETIRED / State License is Inactive) about 1 year ago

It is important to check for an update on this credit hack.  By using the website you agree to the blind statement of not being allowed to participate in a class action suite regarding this issue.  I will update my blog from yesterday too. This is scary.

Posted by MaryBeth Mills Muldowney, Massachusetts Broker Owner (TradeWinds Realty Group LLC) about 1 year ago

Useful and helpful posting thank you. No excuses in todays tech world for this

Posted by Richie Alan Naggar, agent & author (people first...then business Ran Right Realty ) about 1 year ago

Thank you for the information and link. I heard about it and it is crazy stuff.

Posted by Dana Basiliere, Making deals "Happen" (Rossi & Riina Real Estate) about 1 year ago

The links do not go to a trusted site! My anti-virus issued a warning!! Beware...

Posted by Joan Clark about 1 year ago

Great idea!!!

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.

Posted by Sham Reddy, CRS (H E R Realty, Dayton, OH) about 1 year ago

Be aware if you opt in to these sites to check, you are agreeing to hold Equifax harmless for any damages as one article I read said so read the fine print. The monitoring program is an Equifax product.

Posted by Penelope Taylor about 1 year ago

Thank you S-o much for this very useful information.  I am sharing with friends.  After checking, it appears I could be one at risk.

Posted by Lore Lingner, Personal Care And High-Tech Tools (Monterey Coast Realty) about 1 year ago

So after they allowed a breach why would I trust them to protect my information?

Posted by Dave Halpern, Louisville Short Sale Expert (Keller Williams Realty Louisville East (502) 664-7827) about 1 year ago

Thanks for this timely and helpful information Kathy.  I checked the Equifax website and my info was hacked.  They say it "may" have been hacked.  I hope the CEO of Equifax is held personally liable for not protecting confidential personal info.  That will prevent future hacking since nothing else seems to.

Posted by Lloyd Binen, Silicon Valley Realtor since 1976; 408-373-4411 (Certified Realty Services) about 1 year ago

Kathy Sheehan 
Great information to share.

Congratulations on your Feature!
Lynn

Posted by Lynn B. Friedman, Concierge Service for Our Atlanta Sellers & Buyers (Atlanta Homes ODAT Realty Call/Text 404-939-2727 Buckhead - Midtown - Westside -- and more ...) about 1 year ago

In reality there IS NOTHING YOU CAN DO TO PROTECT Against the Equifax hack. A lock on your identity would not block the Russian mafia or North Korean hackers who downloaded files from Equifax's web based server. Equifax failed in having secure walls. Equifax lied to the public for 3 months running huge marketing/advertising campaigns to try and circumvent the inevitible bad stain. Now that they have the info and have RANDONSOMED yes asked Equifax to pay them millions in bit coin to not post all our information for more evil people to use. With social security number, date of birth, driver's license, home address they can combine with systems that find your children's names so change all your bank passwords with children's names because they intend to clean you out. All we can do is check our credit, check bank all money accounts and keep doing it until we see fraud. 

Posted by Caroline Gerardo, C. G. Barbeau the Loan Lady (Eagle Home Mortgage, LENNAR HOMES Home Loans) about 1 year ago

I did hear on NPR today that those folks signing up for the one year of free credit monitoring from Equifax should make sure they sign the agreement that does NOT eliminate them from the class action law suit against Equifax.

Posted by Dusty Rhoton SRS, MRES, ABR, SRES, GRI, Flagstaff Real Estate (RE/MAX Fine Properties) about 1 year ago

If they have had this informatin since july isnt it a little too late to protect ourselves? And why would we trust the people who got hacked and didnt tell us for 2 -3 months that we had been violated?  I am not sure we can do anything to really protect ourselves at this point

Posted by Debra Leisek ( Bay Realty,Inc Homer Alaska) about 1 year ago

This has been an excellent discussion and I am privlidged to be a part of this community where discussions are possible.  I have decided to keep on doing what I usually do and every couple of weeks I check my accounts to make sure that the debits and credits are correct.  I have devised a log in that is different on every account but is logical to me.

Posted by Susan McCall, Everyone needs a home, Quickly, professionally and with a little fun! (Compass Realty Solutions, Portland, OR & Vancouver, WA) about 1 year ago

Beware! Signing up for the Equifax monitoring includes a waiver so you can't hold them responsible if there is a future problem due to the hacking. People are saying to avoid this. Put a credit freeze in at all 3 large credit bureaus (easy but you have to go to each website) and there are others as well apparently.

Posted by Edy Kizaki about 1 year ago

I am sure it is more than just a breach when they are now in a lawsuit.These credit agencies serve a purpose for the fraudulent banks, but when it comes to a personal remark on a credit report, it takes an act of God... I am happy to see they are now in a lawsuit, no longer to big to fail... now they should go after Goldman and all their fraudulent dirivitives.

I am adding this to my post which was just sent to me tonight, looks like the crooked bankers bailed and walked away without any scars..

"Equifax execs dumped stock before the hack news went public
As Bloomberg reports, three of the company's senior executives sold nearly $1.8 million in shares after the company learned internally that it had exposed the private data, including social security and driver's license numbers, of as many as 143 million people in the U.S
https://finance.yahoo.com/news/equifax-execs-dumped-stock-hack-231059123.html"

Posted by Rod Pierson, Northern California (Results Real Estate Inc) about 1 year ago

I checked and it says that I may be affected.  Scary times we live in. 

Posted by Anna Hatridge, Missouri Realtor with Goodson Realty (Goodson Realty) about 1 year ago

Thank you for sharing the information. I will bookmark this post and share with others 

Posted by Gita Bantwal, REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel (RE/MAX Centre Realtors) about 1 year ago

So a month after a breach happened, we're being told about it and then being asked to sign up for their services? Free or not free, I don't like the way that sounds. I do use another one of the three credit services so would know if anything fishy was going on.

Posted by Kat Palmiotti, The House Kat (Grand Lux Realty, Monroe NY, 914-419-0270, kat@thehousekat.com) about 1 year ago

Good morning Kathy Sheehan ,

Excellent post and glad to see it featured. The discussion on this topic and every-ones sharing is most helpful.

Posted by Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR, Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate (Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.346.1799) about 1 year ago

Great information here Kathy - But there is way more to this problem. I happen to know many people who have been affected by this breach of security and Equifax is delaying any assistance till next week. Why are they waiting for? Why aren't they on this immediately? This is quite disturbing information for almost half of the entire country.

Posted by Richard D. Rawdin, Hamptons Real Estate (Saunders & Associates Real Estate) about 1 year ago

Scary stuff, Kathy.  I'm not sure that I want to give additional information to the folks who allowed my information to be hacked.

Posted by Gabe Sanders, Stuart Florida Real Estate (Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales) about 1 year ago

Equifax has just issued the following statement yesterday :"“In response to consumer inquiries, we have made it clear that the arbitration clause and class action waiver included in the Equifax and TrustedID Premier terms of use does not apply to this cybersecurity incident,” the company said."

So it seems that by using their website now to check if you have been a potential victim (and using their monitoring service) does not bar you from participating in any class action lawsuits....At least that's better.

But I think you still have to pay for their monitoring service? If that's still the case and they are trying to profit from their negligence then this will come back to bite them in the b**.
I remember when Keller Williams admitted a breach of sensitive information a few months ago. They provided Keller Williams agents with a free year of credit monitoring. 

 

Posted by Catherine Chaudemanche - Edison & Central NJ, Full Time, Informed and Involved- Results Driven (Metuchen Keller Williams Elite Realty / Middlesex County, NJ) about 1 year ago

Kathy Sheehan - I wholeheartedly agree with Gabe Sanders .  They want us to give them our name and partial social security number on their site to check if  we're scooped up in their security lapse! No thank you 

Posted by Suzanne Strickler, School is never out for the Succesful. (Realty Mark Associates) about 1 year ago

Very troublesome to say the least.  It's sad that it takes them so long to tell the public while some padded their pockets in the interim. 

Posted by Mickey Hayward, Farm - Land - Home Sales & Commercial Real Estate (Sunset Properties, Hayward Realty) about 1 year ago

The best part is, they knew about the breach a while back but are just now telling us! I heard rumors that some of the executives sold off stock before the announcement. 

Posted by Nathan Gesner, Broker / Property Manager (American West Realty & Management) about 1 year ago

Information that we need to know, after all, we are consumers too Kathy Sheehan! When I heard of the Equifax selling some stock AFTER the breach it really concerned me...

Posted by Wanda Kubat-Nerdin - Wanda Can!, So Utah Residential, Referral & Relocation REALTOR (Prado Real Estate South) about 1 year ago

Seems to me that logging onto their website now and providing your SS# and other info to check if you're a victim, could further expose you and your data.

No thank you.

Cheers! 

Posted by Ron Tissier, Defining Homes. Defining Lifestyles. (Chapman Hall Premier Realtors (404) 580-9069) about 1 year ago

Thank you for the great and timely post, Kathy,  However, I agree with Ron Tissier and a bit leery of giving my information out and possibly further exposing my data.  The Internet, in general, is beginning to giving me pause on many levels.

Posted by Christi Farrington, ~ Your representative in Fairfield County, CT (William Raveis Real Estate - Norwalk, CT) about 1 year ago

Catherine "Cathy" Chaudemanche- Edison, NJ - I read your comment. I clicked on the link and Equifax stated the protection would be free for one year.

This is really scary stuff. Not sure whether to register for the free protection or not, based on what has happened. Is there ANY protection from identity fraud?

Posted by Pat Starnes-Front Gate Realty, 601-991-2900 Office; 601-278-4513 Cell (Front Gate Real Estate) about 1 year ago

Thanks Pat-

 

Posted by Catherine Chaudemanche - Edison & Central NJ, Full Time, Informed and Involved- Results Driven (Metuchen Keller Williams Elite Realty / Middlesex County, NJ) about 1 year ago

Hi Kathy,
I saw this on Pat Starnes, Brandon, MS reblog this morning.  Many of us are wondering what is the best course of action.  I have heard to be careful about signing up for the free monitoring service because we are waiving certain rights by doing so.  Do you know about that aspect?

Posted by Carol Williams, "Customized Mentoring & Marketing Services" (U.S.: I specialize in helping agents who have been in the business 2 years or less create a thriving business.) about 1 year ago

Thanks for sharing your post, Kathy Sheehan. It seems the only way to protect our information is to be vigilant for changes in it. I use both CreditKarma.com and Credit.com to regularly check my accounts status and keep an eye on the account statements as well. 

As far as executives selling out before the stock value dropped I think it just shows what kind of terrible people are running Equifax.
Bruce

 

Posted by Bruce Kunz, REALTOR®, Brick & Howell NJ Homes for Sale (C21 Solid Gold Realty, Brick, NJ, 732-920-2100) about 1 year ago

Great discussion points from A/R members in response to your post - thanks all.

Posted by M.C. Dwyer, Santa Cruz Mountains Property Specialist (Century 21 Showcase REALTORs) about 1 year ago

Thank you for the post. I am one that is possibly compromised and thank you for the link. I have registered. 

Posted by Stavrula "Sam" Crafa, RNC,GRI, CDPE, PSA, Providing the integrity and service you deserve. (Future Home Realty) about 1 year ago

Kathy Sheehan - thanks for the link to trustedid - I just registered there. However, was nervous providing them with my information.

Posted by Praful Thakkar, Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale (LAER Realty Partners) about 1 year ago

Good Morning Kathy Sheehan 

First, I hope you folks in GA do not get hit too hard from Irma.

Pam, my wife, & I purchased a top notch ID Theft program over a decade ago. We don't rely on companies that get breached.

Posted by Doug Dawes, Your Personal Realtor® (Keller Williams Realty - Topsfield, MA) about 1 year ago

Good morning Kathy. This topic leaves mewondering why I would attempt to tackle it. 

Posted by Sheila Anderson, The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133 (Referral Group Incorporated) about 1 year ago

My husband checked and said we aren't involved. Doesn't mean some other breach won't get us. Seems all too common these days!

Posted by Sharon Tara, New Hampshire Home Stager (Sharon Tara Transformations) about 1 year ago

Good reminder for all to monitor their credit and not leave it up to a major corporation. I already checked mine!

Posted by Sandy Padula and Norm Padula, JD, GRI, Presence, Persistence & Perseverance (Realty National) about 1 year ago

Great post! Thanks for sharing Kathy.  May I add another option is to consider for setting up fraud alerts on your files. This option require creditors to contact you directly by phone for approval before allowing an account to be opened.  

Posted by Sam Kader, Real Estate and Mortgage Broker (Pacific Coast Financial LLC) about 1 year ago

t can certainly be a long and frustrating process...but being vigilant is imperative to keeping good credit !

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) about 1 year ago

Good morning, Kathy Sheehan I will be pulling a full credit report this week.... I check my credit score monthly.... time to see the full picture...

Posted by Barbara Todaro, "Franklin MA Homes" (RE/MAX Executive Realty ) about 1 year ago

By Checking the equifax site you can unknowingly sign away any of your rights in a class action lawsuit. So I wouldn't be advising that people check there or that they enter sensitive info on this unsecured website.

Posted by Zoe about 1 year ago

Thanks for sharing this info; it's sad that it's needed.

Posted by Michelle Carr-Crowe Just Call 408-252-8900 Top 1%!, Family Helping Families Buy & Sell Homes 40+ Years (Get Results Team...Just Call (408) 252-8900! . DRE #00901962 . Licensed to Sell since 1985 . Altas Realty) about 1 year ago

Congratulations on your feature recognition. This is timely advice to share.

Posted by Roy Kelley, Roy and Dolores Kelley Photographs (Realty Group Referrals) about 1 year ago

I must say I am a skeptic as well. I am not signing up but will get a full credit report as well. Thank you for bringing this to our attention. 

Posted by Terrie Leighton, Reno Real Estate Agent ~ Selling Homes in Reno (Ferrari-Lund Real Estate ) about 1 year ago

Thanks for sharing this vital information, warning and tips for protection.

Hackers are vicious and clever.

Posted by John Wiley, Lee County, FL Real Estate GRI, SRES,GREEN,PSA (Right Move Real Estate Group- EXP Realty) about 1 year ago

Thank you, Kathy, for a great article.  I have registered and pulled my credit report.  After much pressure, Equifax removed the paragraph that you give up your right to sue.  

It is sad that this is the world we live in.  In the past, I've been notified by Home Depot and TempurPedic that their records have been breached.  I'm sure we'll see more of this.  Just need to be vigilant. 

 

Posted by Lore Lingner, Personal Care And High-Tech Tools (Monterey Coast Realty) about 1 year ago

Thank you for giving clear instructions about what to do re the Equifax indentity theft issue!  Appreciate it and will bookmark for the future.

Posted by Jan Green, HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN (Value Added Service, 602-620-2699) 12 months ago

Participate