Equifax Data Breach – FAQs
I’ve been hearing about the Equifax breach in the news. What happened?
Equifax, one of the three major credit bureaus, experienced a massive data breach. The hackers accessed people’s names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and in some instances, driver’s license numbers. They also stole credit card numbers for about 209,000 people and dispute documents with personal identifying information for about 182,000 people.
Was my information stolen?
If you have a credit report, there’s a good chance it was. Go to a special website set up by Equifax to find out: www.EquifaxSecurity2017.com. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click on “Potential Impact,”. Enter some personal information and the website will tell you if you’ve been affected. Be sure you’re on a secure network (not public wi-fi) when you submit sensitive data over the internet.
How can I protect myself?
Enroll in Equifax’s services.
Equifax is offering one year of free credit monitoring and other services, whether or not your information was exposed. You can sign up at www.EquifaxSecurity2017.com.
Monitor your credit reports.
In addition, you can order a free copy of your credit report from all three of the credit reporting agencies at www.AnnualCreditReport.com. You are entitled to one free report from each of the credit bureaus once per year.
Monitor your bank accounts.
We also encourage you to monitor your financial accounts regularly for fraudulent transactions. Use online and mobile banking to keep a close eye on your accounts.
Watch out for scams related to the breach.
Do not trust emails that appear to come from Equifax regarding the breach. Attackers are likely to take advantage of the situation and craft sophisticated phishing emails.
Where can I get more information about the Equifax breach?
You can learn more directly from Equifax at www.EquifaxSecurity2017.com. You can also learn more by visiting the Federal Trade Commission’s web page on the breach. Learn more about how to protect yourself after a breach.
Credit Freeze Information:
- What is a credit freeze?
A credit freeze will prevent lenders and others from accessing your credit report in response to a new credit application.
- Does enrolling in Equifax’s free credit monitoring solution automatically place a freeze on your credit report?
No, if you would like to place a freeze on your credit report, you must contact the three credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, & TransUnion) individually and request to place a credit freeze.
- Is there a fee to place a freeze on my credit report?
Fees to place a freeze on your credit report vary from state to state; however, for residents of NC & SC, there is no fee.
- If I place a freeze on my credit, will I be able to apply for credit (i.e. credit card, car loan)?
No, you cannot apply for credit while there is a freeze on your credit report. You must contact the three credit bureaus and request to have the credit freeze removed. When you request to have the credit freeze removed, you will specify whether you would like the freeze to be removed permanently or for a temporary period of time.
- If I need to remove the freeze on my credit in order to apply for credit, how long does the process take?
The length of time to remove the freeze may vary, but in general you should allow three (3) days before applying for credit.
- Should I place a credit freeze on my files?
Before deciding to place a credit freeze on your accounts, consider your personal situation. If you might be applying for credit soon or think you might need quick credit in an emergency, it might be better to simply place a fraud alert on your files with the three major credit bureaus. A fraud alert puts a red flag on your credit report which requires businesses to take additional steps, such as contacting you by phone before opening a new account.
Fraud Alert Information:
- What is a fraud alert?
A fraud alert is an alert placed on your credit report that requires lenders to take extra steps to verify your identity when applying for credit. An initial fraud alert will expire after 90 days; however, you can renew the alert once it expires.
- Does enrolling in Equifax’s free credit monitoring solution automatically place an alert on my credit report?
No, if you would like to place a fraud alert on your credit report, you must contact one of the three credit bureaus directly.
- How do you place a fraud alert on your credit report?
Visit www.alerts.equifax.com/AutoFraud_Online or call 1-800-525-6285 to request a fraud alert be placed on your credit report. Once you do this, Equifax will notify the other two credit bureaus (Experian & TransUnion) so that the alert is placed with all three companies.