The Equifax breach occurred between mid-May and July, according to Equifax. The company discovered the hack on July 29. This is one of the worst data breaches ever, by its reach and by the kind of information exposed to the public.
Equifax Data Breach
Equifax reported that 143 million people could be victimized by a recent data breach. Cyber criminals have got access to sensitive information such as names, social security numbers, birth dates, addresses, and the numbers of some driver’s licenses.
Moreover, credit card numbers for about 209.000 people were exposed, as was “personal identifying information” on approximately 182.000 customers involved in credit report disputes.
Equifax is one of 3 nationwide credit-reporting companies (Experian, Equifax, TransUnion) tracking and rating US consumers’ financial history. The companies have data about loans, loan payments and credit cards, as well as information on everything from child support payments, credit limits, missed rent and utility payments, addresses and employer history.
With this in mind, it’s critical to turn to a reliable and secure payment processor for credit card processing for your business. Reputable companies can help you successfully protect your business from fraud, and enjoy unmatched chargeback protection and prevention services.
How to Tell if a Thief Is Using Your Stolen Information?
Do you want to know if a thief is using your stolen information? Here are several things to bear in mind:
- Check the potential impact at Equifax’s TrustedID website by entering the last 6 digits of your Social Security number and your last name
- Monitor your credit report. You can use credit monitoring service like Equifax’s TrustedID or just check your credit reports on a regular basis yourself. You can get a free copy of your report from each of the above-mentioned credit reporting bureaus each year and you can find your copy at annualcreditreport.com. In case you see inaccurate item(s) on your reports, contact the bureaus:
Equifax Consumer Fraud Division, PO Box 740256,
Atlanta, GA 30374
Experian Fraud Center
P.O. Box 9554
Allen, TX 75013
Transunion Fraud Alert
TransUnion Fraud Victim Assistance Department,
P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA 19016
- Put a freeze and a fraud alert on all 3 of your credit reports
- Review your credit report on a regular basis, not just right now
What Can Thieves Do with Your Stolen Information?
Thieves can open a fake account. This is the most common thing they will do with your Social Security number. However, this type of data usage is the least damaging. Criminals can also file false tax returns, create fake children to go with the identity, and even create problems with mortgages and home deeds.
Some red flags mentioned by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) are as follows:
- Withdrawals from your bank account that you can’t explain
- Your bills or other mail aren’t received
- Your checks are refused by merchants
- Debts that aren’t yours
- Your credit report shows unfamiliar accounts or charges
- Bills for medical services you didn’t use
- Your legitimate medical claim is rejected by your health plan because the records show you can’t have more benefits
- You won’t be covered by a health plan because your medical records show a condition you don’t have
- You get a notification from the IRS stating more than one tax returns were filed in your name, or that you have income from an employer you don’t work for
If you’re caught in this type of situation, create an account at the Social Security Administration. This will help you at least check your Social Security earnings to find out if anything is wrong. Also, according to the FTC, you should file your taxes immediately before a potential scammer can.