Equifax Data Breach FAQs
I’ve been hearing about the Equifax breach in the news. What happened?
Equifax, one of the three major credit bureaus, experienced a massive data breach. The hackers accessed people’s names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some instances, driver’s license numbers. They also stole credit card numbers for about 209,000 people and dispute documents with personal identifying information for about 182,000 people.
Was my information stolen?
If you have a credit report, there’s a good chance it was. Go to a special website set up by Equifax to find out: https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click on “Potential Impact,” enter some personal information and the site will tell you if you’ve been affected. Be sure you’re on a secure network (not public wi-fi) when you submit sensitive data over the internet.
How can I protect myself?
Enroll in Equifax’s services.
Equifax is offering one year of free credit monitoring and other services, whether or not your information was exposed. You can sign up at https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/.
Monitor your credit reports.
In addition, you can order a free copy of your credit report from all three of the credit reporting agencies at annualcreditreport.com. You are entitled to one free report from each of the credit bureaus once per year.
Monitor your bank accounts.
We also encourage you to monitor your financial accounts regularly for fraudulent transactions. Use online and mobile banking to keep a close eye on your accounts.
Watch out for scams related to the breach.
Do not trust e-mails that appear to come from Equifax regarding the breach. Attackers are likely to take advantage of the situation and craft sophisticated phishing e-mails.
Should I place a credit freeze on my files?
Before deciding to place a credit freeze on your accounts, consider your personal situation. If you might be applying for credit soon or think you might need quick credit in an emergency, it might be better to simply place a fraud alert on your files with the three major credit bureaus. A fraud alert puts a red flag on your credit report which requires businesses to take additional steps, such as contacting you by phone before opening a new account.
How do I contact the three major credit bureaus to place a freeze on my files?
Equifax: Call 800-349-9960 or visit its website.
Experian: Call 888-397-3742 or visit its website.
TransUnion: Call 888-909-8872 or visit its website.
Where can I get more information about the Equifax breach?
You can learn more directly from Equifax at https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/. You can also learn more by visiting the Federal Trade Commission’s web page on the breach at https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2017/09/equifax-data-breach-what-do. To learn more about how to protect yourself after a breach, visit https://www.identitytheft.gov/Info-Lost-or-Stolen.
Other Important Equifax Breach Information
It’s important to clarify Equifax is a credit bureau, not a bank.
Equifax is one of three major credit reporting agencies and handles the data of 820 million consumers and more than 91 million businesses worldwide.
On Sept. 7, Equifax announced that the records of approximately 143 million Americans were breached between May & July of this year.
Those records contained names, birth dates, addresses, Social Security numbers and some driver’s license numbers. At this time, it appears hackers did not gain access to full credit reports.
In addition to the personal information accessed, 209,000 credit card numbers were obtained.
Equifax has indicated that debit cards were not exposed – therefore criminals are unlikely to have the ability to withdraw funds from a checking account.
The biggest risk posed by this breach is the threat of identity theft.
Consumers should visit Equifax’s website to determine whether their information was compromised and to enroll in its free credit monitoring program, TrustedID Premier.
Equifax is offering free credit file monitoring and identity theft protection to all U.S. consumers for one year following the breach.
You do not need to provide credit card information to enroll.
Consumers who sign up for the program will not be automatically enrolled or charged at the end of the year.
Internet banking is your friend. Monitoring your accounts and credit report for unauthorized transactions is critically important.
When the bank and customer work together, we can better prevent fraud.
Banks use a combination of safeguards to protect your information, such as employee training, strict privacy policies, rigorous security standards and encryption systems.
In addition to using Equifax’s TrustedID Premier, consumers can check their credit reports from Equifax, Experian and TransUnion – for free – by visiting annualcreditreport.com. Unfamiliar accounts or activity could indicate identity theft.
If you suspect you are a victim of fraud, you should alert your bank right away.
Be wary of e-mails that come from Equifax.
Criminals often take advantage of breaches and craft sophisticated phishing e-mails encouraging consumers to provide personal information.
Due to the high number of victims, Equifax is only notifying the 209,000 consumers whose credit card information may have been affected via postal mail.
In the event of a fraudulent transaction, consumers are protected against losses.
When a customer reports an unauthorized transaction, the bank will cover the loss and take measures to protect your account.
The banking industry is committed to continuing its tradition of safeguarding confidential financial information.
Equifax has agreed to waive all credit freeze fees for the next 30 days for people who want to freeze their Equifax credit files.
It’s important that consumers understand the pros and cons to credit freezes and consider their personal situation.
Renting an apartment, getting quick credit in an emergency, taking advantage of a one-time offer, or even getting a cell phone, all require quick access to your credit report which is restricted during a freeze.
Fraud alerts are an alternative for people who are concerned about identity theft. It gives consumers added protection without limiting access to credit.
A fraud alert puts a red flag on your credit report which requires businesses to take additional steps, such as contacting you by phone before opening a new account.
To understand your rights as a consumer if your personal information was compromised in the breach, visit equifaxsecurity2017.com.
Massena (Main) Branch
After Hours Online Banking Support
Lost/Stolen Debit Card
Debit Card Fraud Reporting