Yesterday evening it was reported that Equifax, one of the big three credit reporting agencies, was the target of a massive data breach. The breach exposed the information of 143 million people, compromising social security numbers, driver’s license numbers, birth dates, and addresses. Additionally, the credit card numbers of over 200,000 customers were exposed, as well as the personal identifying information on about 182,000 customers involved in credit disputes. According to Equifax, the breach occurred mid-May and July of this year.
Importantly, not everyone affected by the Equifax breach may even be aware they are at risk of being exposed because Equifax pulls data from numerous credit card companies, banks, lenders, and retailers who report the credit activity of their users to credit reporting agencies. Equifax will be contacting those whose credit cards or dispute records were affected.
Because of the nature of this breach, it is important to take action on your own to see if your information was compromised. To check your potential impact, we recommend that you visit www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/potential-impact/. You will receive a message indicating whether your personal information may have been impacted by this incident. Regardless of whether your information may have been impacted, you will receive an enrollment date for a year of free credit monitoring service. You should return to that site and follow the “how do I enroll?” instructions on or after the date listed. We recommend you take advantage of the free monitoring even if not affected by this data breach.
We also recommend you sign up at CreditKarma and CreditSesame. They are free credit monitoring services and, between the two of them, cover all three credit reporting agencies – Equifax, Transunion, and Experian. They also provide free credit scores updated at least monthly. If you discover any errors or fraud, please contact us at 757-453-7744.
To learn more information on credit reporting agencies, credit fraud, and situations such as the Equifax breach, we invite you to attend Kellam’s free seminar next Wednesday, September 13th, at the M.E.O. Central Library, 4100 Virginia Beach Boulevard, Virginia Beach, VA 23452. It begins at 6:30 PM. You can sign up here!