Equifax

Finance Blog

Identity Theft: Dealing With A Data Breach

Written by Equifax Experts on August 8, 2011 in Credit  |   11 comments

What to Do If You Are the Victim of a Data Breach Equifax Credit Team If you are a victim of a data breach, it does not necessarily mean that you are or will become a victim of identity theft. However, Equifax recommends that you…

What to Do If You Are the Victim of a Data Breach

Equifax Credit Team

If you are a victim of a data breach, it does not necessarily mean that you are or will become a victim of identity theft. However, Equifax recommends that you take the following four steps as soon as possible to protect your personal information from misuse.

1. Place a fraud alert or security freeze on your credit reports. Fraud alerts protect against new account fraud and require the credit grantor to take extra steps to verify your identity.

The basics of fraud alerts and security freezes:

  • When you request a fraud alert with Equifax, it is reported to the other two credit reporting agencies.
  • Fraud alerts are free.
  • Alerts can be placed online, by phone, or by mail.
  • Security freezes protect against new account fraud and prevent your credit report from being reported to third parties, such as credit grantors, except those permitted by law or those to which you have given permission.
  • Security freeze fees vary by state; they are not free.
  • Only you can request a security freeze be placed, temporarily lifted, or permanently removed.

2. Close accounts. Contact the appropriate creditors, banks, phone companies, and utility companies to close any accounts associated with the breached company, as well as any accounts that you know have or believe have been compromised or opened fraudulently.

3. Monitor your credit report. Credit monitoring enables you to watch your credit account activity and protect your identity during a period of time when you may be more vulnerable to identity theft. Some breached organizations offer free credit monitoring services to affected consumers for a limited time; if you receive a letter that offers free monitoring, take advantage of it before the offer expires.

Monitoring products typically charge a monthly fee and include these core product features:

  • Three-bureau credit report monitoring
  • Identity theft insurance
  • Alerts of key changes to your credit file

Consumers can also obtain a free annual credit report from each of the three credit reporting agencies at www.annualcreditreport.com.

4. Stay alert. Identity thieves may not use your personal information right away—sometimes they can take up to a year or more. To stay on top of the situation, continue to monitor your credit reports regularly, and read your financial account statements promptly and carefully.

Watch for signs of identity theft like:

  • Failing to receive monthly bills or other mail
  • Being denied credit or offered less favorable terms (such as a high interest rate)
  • Receiving calls or letters from debt collectors for accounts you did not open

For tips on how to prevent becoming a victim of a data breach and identity theft, check out last week’s story.

READ MORE:

Fraud Alert May Not Be Enough to Protect Against Identity Theft

Common Financial Mistakes from David Bach

Getting Out of Debt – For Good

Regional Credit Trends Affected by Industry and Manufacturing

Get a College Education You Can Afford

11 comments

  1. Dan F. says:

    Ironically, I found this blog post because I searched for “equifax email breach.” I just received a spam e-mail at an address I only used for Equifax. So, it appears that either Equifax, or someone you have trusted with one of your databases, has been a victim also. I just hope it was only my e-mail address that was leaked, since you have MUCH more information about me than that, including my social security number.

    • Ilyce R. Glink, managing editor, Equifax Finance Blog says:

      Dan:

      Thanks for your comment. We’ll make sure the proper folks at Equifax take a closer look.

      I’m glad you checked out the blog and hope you’ll come back.

  2. Bob M. says:

    Yesterday I was notified that I have become a victim of credit card fraud and identity theft. I made a police report and notified all the card issuers. I also put a fraud alert out for 90 days. It seems that Equifax and TransUnion received false information that changed my first name on my social security card and now they have no record of me. What a nightmare I’m having trying to contact them by phone….No longer do you get to speak with a real person, everything is a recording and you get prompted for numbers that you don’t have…. No luck contacting Equifax and after ten (10) tries finally spoke with a real person at TransUnion … Even with this real person, no luck making him understand…..I just don’t understand have they can change you name via the computer or on the phone, however they can’t help you even after you jump thru all the hoops. Can anyone help me.cactus2@comcast.net.

  3. Pingback: Need Extra Cash? Host a Yard Sale | Equifax Finance Blog

  4. Pingback: 4 Tips for Savvy Yard Sale Shopping | Equifax Finance Blog

  5. Jon B says:

    If I cannot see the EIS credit files of the 45 other people using my SSN but their names could you please at least stop letting them open lines of credit??

  6. Pingback: Identity Theft: What To Do If Your Wallet Is Lost Or Stolen | Equifax Finance Blog

  7. Pingback: Pay Off Debt and Take Advantage of Low Interest Rates | Equifax Finance Blog

  8. Alex A. says:

    Funny. 90% of my spam comes through the email alias never used for anyone *except* equifax. Leading by example?

  9. Eric L. says:

    Equifax.com has leaked two separate email addresses that I have used with the service at Equifax.com. This happened once, so I changed the email address for my online account and it happened again. These email addresses were created exclusively for use at Equifax.com. Almost every spam email I receive is on these two email addresses, over 100 a daily.

    This is a company that says it offers “A full suite of online tools to take control of your credit and PROTECT YOUR IDENTITY.” Identity protect is obviously not a concern with Equifax.com.


Leave a Comment


Name :


Commenting guidelines

We welcome your interest and participation on this forum, but be aware that comments will be published at Equifax's sole discretion. Please don't use this blog to submit questions or concerns about your Equifax credit report or raise customer service issues. Instead, you should contact Equifax directly for all such matters and any attempts to do so in this forum will be promptly re-directed.

Some other factors to consider when commenting:
  1. Registration and privacy. While no registration is required to visit our forum, participants wishing to post a message must register by creating an account. All personal information provided by forum members incident to registration is governed by our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.
  2. All comments are anonymous. We'll delete your name, e-mail address, and any other identifying information, including details about your investments.
  3. We can't post or respond to every comment - As much as we'd like to, we can't post every comment, nor can we guarantee that we will respond to each individual message. All questions or comments about your Equifax credit report or similar customer service issues should be handled by contacting Equifax directly.
  4. Don't offer specific legal, tax or financial advice. All of the materials on this Site are for information, education, and noncommercial purposes only and this forum is not intended as a means of expressing views or ideas regarding any specific legal, tax, or investment advice. While offering general rules of thumb is both permitted and encouraged, recommending specific ideas or strategies regarding investments, taxes, and related matters is prohibited.
  5. Credit Repair. This blog is not intended as a venue for the discussion or exchange of ideas regarding credit repair or other strategies intended to assist visitors and community members improve or otherwise modify their credit histories, ratings or scores.
  6. Stay on topic. Your comment should be concise and pertain to the specific post in question.
  7. Be respectful of the community. The use of profanity, offensive language, spam, and personal attacks will not be tolerated and egregious or repeat offenders will be banned from future participation. We encourage disagreement and healthy debate, but please refrain from personal attacks on our WordPresss and contributors.
  8. Finally: Participation in this forum may be terminated by Equifax immediately and without notice for failure to comply with any guidelines or Terms of Use. As such, you should familiarize yourself with all pertinent requirements prior to submitting any response through the blog or otherwise. All opinions expressed in this forum are solely those of the individual submitting the comment, and don't necessarily represent the views of Equifax or its management.

Equifax maintains this interactive forum for education and information purposes in order to allow individuals to share their relevant knowledge and opinions with other members and visitors. We encourage you to participate in discussions about personal finance issues and other topics of interest to this community, but please read our commenting guidelines first. Equifax reserves the right to monitor postings to the forum and comments will be published at our discretion. Do you have questions or comments about your Equifax credit report or customer-service issues regarding an Equifax product? If so, please contact Equifax directly. All opinions and information expressed or shared in blog comments are solely those of the person submitting the comments, and don't necessarily represent the views of Equifax or its management.


Credit Archive

Stay Informed Sign up for our FREE Equifax email Newsletter