|September 26, 2017
The data breach of Equifax exposed approximately 143 million American consumer’s sensitive personal information. Equifax is one of the major credit agencies in the United States and has information on most adult Americans, even if they do not know it.
Equifax indicated the breach took place from May through July. The information that was accessed included: names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses, driver’s license numbers and some credit card information. However, this is an evolving story with new information being disclosed on an almost daily basis.
The Attorneys General in many states have filed a class-action suit against Equifax (including New Hampshire). The suits claim that Equifax was negligent in their security and delayed their disclosure of the breach. The delay caused harm in consumers from further protecting themselves related to any potential fraud. At this time we have no information on what the class action suit may mean for consumers seeking protection. Equifax has provided free credit monitoring services related to the breach. Initially, Equifax had a provision that prohibited individuals from participating in legal action if they utilized the credit monitoring service. After backlash, this provision was removed.
The Federal Trade Commission, FTC, has suggested steps that you should take to keep your information from being misused after a data breach, which include:
- Check your credit reports for free by visiting www.annualcreditreport.com.
- Consider placing a credit freeze on your account (however, remember that you may need access to credit).
- Monitor your existing credit cards and bank accounts closely.
- Consider placing a fraud alert on your account.
- Utilize existing credit monitoring services you are currently enrolled in.
- File your taxes early for 2017.
You can check to see if you were affected:
- Visit Equifax’s website, www.equifaxsecurity2017.com.
- Click on “Potential Impact” tab and enter your last name and last six (6) digits of your social security number. (Please make sure that you are using a secure computer any time you enter your social security number.)
- You must enroll on their site by November 21, 2017 to receive the free credit monitoring for one year.
For more information please visit:
- Federal Trade Commission, at https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/topics/identity-theft;
- Equifax Security, at www.equifaxsecurity2017.com.
Richard J. Maloney, CPA, ABV Kevin C. Kennedy, CPA, CFE Jessica L. Parasco, CPA