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Equifax Breach: What you need to know

As some of you are aware, Equifax, one of the three largest credit reporting agencies in the U.S., had a data/security breach. This potentially exposes 143 million users’ Social Security numbers, dates of birth, addresses and in some cases, credit card numbers. Equifax recently admitted the breach actually occurred a little over a month before it was disclosed to the public. I’d like to share what you can do from this point on.

There are a few security measures you can implement;

  • A year of credit monitoring
  • You can elect to freeze your credit file with the company

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Equifax will provide the year of credit monitoring for free. They will also freeze your credit report at no charge only until November 21st. They were initially charging for the freeze, but after much public outcry, they have now made it complimentary.

Credit monitoring allows you to see any activity and will alert you after anyone has tried to open an account in your name. A freeze, being more severe, prohibits anyone from using your information for as long as the freeze is in place. A freeze is the more reliable of the two options if you’re concerned.

You can go to the Equifax website, Equifax.com, and enter the first six digits of your Social Security number along with your last name to determine if you were affected by the breach. This is where you can also sign up for the free credit monitoring for a year.

If you wish to freeze your credit, you should go to freeze.equifax.com and complete the required information. Once complete, you will receive a PIN which you should keep on file. Another option is to call 1-800-685-1111 and verbally request a freeze or mail your request to:

Equifax Security Freeze
PO Box 105788
Atlanta, GA 30348

In all cases, you will need to provide your full name, complete address, Social Security number and date of birth.

To conclude, I would recommend being diligent and utilize your bank, credit union or other credit monitoring services, such as Credit Karma, for any unusual activity regarding your credit.

If you have any questions, I would be glad to assist and help in anyway with any questions or concerns you may have.