As a first step, Equifax provides information on whether you may have been affected by this breach at www.equifaxsecurity2017.com. Look up all members of your household.
The following steps are recommended, regardless of your status on this security breach. These are good measures to stay informed about your credit status:
- Check your credit reports from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion – for free – by visiting annualcreditreport.com. Accounts or activity that you don’t recognize could indicate identity theft. Visit IdentityTheft.gov to find out what to do.
- Consider obtaining credit monitoring services. Equifax is offering free credit monitoring to all Americans, whether impacted by the breach or not. Please note that credit monitoring does NOT prevent ID theft, it simply alerts you to when events occur that may impact your credit.
- Monitor your existing credit card and bank accounts activity closely for charges you don’t recognize.
- File your taxes early – as soon as you have the tax information you need, before a scammer can. Tax identity theft happens when someone uses your Social Security number to get a tax refund or a job. Respond right away to letters from the IRS.
If your data has been compromised, or if you “may have been impacted”, the following additional steps should be considered:
- Consider placing a credit freeze on your files. A credit freeze makes it harder for someone to open a new account in your name. Keep in mind that a credit freeze won’t prevent a thief from making charges to your existing accounts. Also know that any new accounts you attempt to establish could require extra work and expense on your part to ensure they are approved.
- If you decide against a credit freeze, consider placing a fraud alert on your files. A fraud alert warns creditors that you may be an identity theft victim and that they should verify that anyone seeking credit in your name really is you.