Because the Equifax data breach has impacted 143 million people, nearly half of all Americans, the chances that you’ve been affected are reasonably high. Equifax has set up a dedicated website to see if you are affected at https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/. If your information was part of the compromise, you can sign up for a complimentary service developed by Equifax called TrustedID Premier, including one year of identity theft protection.
Considering the significance of the information that was potentially compromised, here are a few additional ways you can protect your identity:
- Be sure to monitor your credit reports regularly. Keeping an eye on these should be a routine practice. You can access them from each of the three bureaus for no charge one time per year.
- As part of this breach, approximately 209,000 people also had their credit card info stolen. Be sure to monitor your credit card statements diligently and report potential fraudulent charges to the card issuer right away.
- Be on the lookout for phishing emails that attempt to get you to click links or open attachments claiming they are somehow related to this incident. Often, these types of phishing campaigns ramp up to take advantage of recent hacks.
If your information was compromised, don’t rely on an email to inform you. Check the company’s website or watch for a letter via the postal service from Equifax. If you do receive a letter from Equifax, assume any emails about the breach are potentially phishing.
- Set up email alerts for your account, delivered right to your email inbox or your mobile phone (via text message or push notification), so you can be aware of any unusual activity as quickly as possible.
- Reconcile your bank account by frequently logging in to Online or Mobile Banking or by reviewing your monthly statements.
- Report unauthorized financial transactions to your bank, credit union, credit card company and the police as soon as you detect them.
- Add a Call Center Password to your account to be used as a verifier during account authentication.
- Review a copy of your credit report at least once a year. To order yours, visit www.AnnualCreditReport.com or call 877-FACTACT (877-322-8228).
- For added security, you can request credit bureaus put a freeze on your credit information. Typically, this request is free and may only be lifted if you contact them directly. For more information about this option, visit the Federal Trade Commission website.
This article was written in collaboration with our expert partners at Stickley on Security.
For more information on security related topics please visit Ent's Security Center.
Remember: Ent and our affiliates will never ask you to verify your account number, Social Security number, debit or credit card number, PIN or any other sensitive personal financial information via email, pop-up window or text message. If you receive a request for this information, please contact Security@Ent.com or call us at (719) 574-1100 or 800-525-9623. If you suspect you have been a victim of theft or fraud, Ent's Fraud Management team can provide support, guidance and assistance with a police report as well as notifying the major credit bureaus and your creditors.