Equifax Data Breach Protection Tips

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Equifax Data Breach Video

How to Protect Yourself from the Equifax Data Breach

Equifax, one of the three major consumer credit reporting agencies disclosed that hackers compromised Social Security and driver’s license numbers as well as names, birthdates, addresses and some credit cards on more than 143 million Americans. If you have a credit profile, you were probably affected.

Credit reporting companies collect and sell vast troves of consumer data from your buying habits to your credit worthiness, making this quite possibly the most destructive data security breach in history. By hacking Equifax, the criminals were able to get all of your personally identifying information in a one-stop shop. This is the third major cybersecurity breach at Equifax since 2015, demonstrating that they continue to place profits over consumer protection. Ultimately, their negligence will erode their margins, their credibility and their position as one of the big three.

But that isn’t your concern – your concern is protecting yourself and your family from the abuse of that stolen information that will happen over the next 3 years.

Minimize Your Risk from the Equifax Data Breach

  1. Assume that your identity has been compromised. Don’t take a chance that you are one of the very few adult American’s that aren’t affected. It’s not time to panic, it’s time to act.
  2. If you want to see the spin that Equifax is putting on the story, visit their website. Here’s how the story usually develops: 1. They announce the breach and say that fraud hasn’t been detected 2. A few days later when you aren’t paying attention, they retract that statement because fraud is happening, 3. Sometime after that they admit that more people, more identity and more fraud took place than originally thought. They encourage you to sign up for their free monitoring (which you should do), but it does nothing to actually prevent identity theft, it just might help you catch it when it happens.
  3. I recommend placing a verbal password on all of your bank accounts and credit cards so that criminals can’t use the information they have from the breach to socially engineer their way into your accounts. Call your banks and credit card companies and request a “call-in” password be placed on your account.
  4. Begin monitoring your bank, credit card and credit accounts on a regular basis. Consider watching this video and then setting up account alerts to make this process easier.
  5. Visit AnnualCreditReport.com to get your credit report from the three credit reporting bureaus to see if there are any newly established, fraudulent accounts set up. DON’T JUST CHECK EQUIFAX, AS THE CRIMINALS HAVE ENOUGH OF YOUR DATA TO ABUSE YOUR CREDIT THROUGH ALL THREE BUREAUS.
  6. MOST IMPORTANTLY, FREEZE YOUR CREDIT. The video above walks you through why this is such an important step. Some websites and cybersecurity experts will tell you to simply place a fraud alert on your three credit profiles. I am telling you that this isn’t strong enough to protect your credit. Freezing your credit puts a password on your credit profile, so that criminals can’t apply for credit in your name (unless they steal your password too). Here are the credit freeze websites and phone numbers for each bureau. Equifax is being overwhelmed by requests, so be patient and keep trying. Even if it doesn’t happen today, you need to Freeze Your Credit!

Equifax Credit Freeze
P.O. Box 105788 Atlanta, Georgia 30348
Toll-Free: 1.800.685.1111

TransUnion Credit Freeze
Fraud Victim Assistance Department P.O. Box 6790 Fullerton, CA 92834
Toll-Free: 1.888.909.8872

Experian Credit Freeze
P.O. Box 9554 Allen, TX 75013
Toll-Free: 1.888.397.3742

John Sileo is an an award-winning author and keynote speaker on cybersecurity. John specializes in making security entertaining, so that it works. John is CEO of The Sileo Group, whose clients include the Pentagon, Visa, Homeland Security & Pfizer. John’s body of work includes appearances on 60 Minutes, Rachael Ray, Anderson Cooper & Fox Business. Contact him directly on 800.258.8076.

5 replies
  1. Christine Wolf
    Christine Wolf says:

    What if you are right in the middle of selling a home and purchasing a new one? Can I still freeze my credit?

  2. Julia Hubbel
    Julia Hubbel says:

    John Sileo is absolutely right. By the time I read this today I had already FROZEN all my credit bureau accounts, cancelled three credit cards and gotten new numbers, spoken to my banks and gotten verbal passwords, and am about to get identify theft insurance. I would only advise that apparently the small print with Equifax is that if you sign up for that one year of free coverage, you forfeit the right to sue them. I wouldn’t. I’d rather pay EZShield, which Equifax doesn’t own, and reserve the right to blast these lying cretins. Sileo knows his stuff. This is GOOD ADVICE. My info was hacked. I’ve had my identity stolen before, my accounts wiped clean. Do NOT sit on your hands and wait around for Equifax to say oh, gee sorry, it’s worse than we thought. This is YOUR MONEY YOUR CREDIT. Take charge.

  3. Ellee Celler
    Ellee Celler says:

    . They encourage you to sign up for their free monitoring (which you should do), but it does nothing to actually prevent identity theft, it just might help you catch it when it happens. HaHaHa. Ask the dishonest Fox to guard and monitor the hen house!

  4. Hank Holland
    Hank Holland says:

    Just attempted all three on line and land line. Equifax and TransUnion both had “System Failures” for telephone and online attempts. Equinox simply dropped the telephone call.
    Was successful with Experian online

    Question;
    Do we need to do this for both my spouse and me

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