Equifax, Inc – a major credit bureau, announced on Thursday, 9/7/17, that a massive data breach was discovered in July, which may have exposed names, birth dates, Social Security numbers, and addresses of approximately 143 million U.S. consumers. The current US population is approximately 326 million, so this data breach potentially affected 44% of Americans! In addition, a smaller amount of driver’s license numbers, credit card numbers and certain documents were obtained. The breach lasted from mid-May to July of 2017.
This is just the latest example of how, no matter how careful you are, there are forces beyond your control that can still lead to your personally identifiable information being exposed.
At IDShield, we know how stressful data breaches are, and we are here to help. As a member, please know:
- You have full access to our dedicated and experienced licensed private investigators to ask any questions and get help if you are worried that you are a victim of fraud.
- You have proactive credit monitoring through Experian and will be alerted if there are any changes to their credit report.
If you are not a member of IDShield, there are still steps that you can take to provide an extra layer of security.
- First, set up a fraud alert. This will reduce the chance of a fraudster opening a credit or loan account in your name. If you place the alert with one bureau, they will ensure its place on the other bureaus as well. Fraud alerts last for 90 days but can be renewed. You can search online for placing a fraud alert and select one of the main bureaus to set it up through. To sign up via Experian, use this link: https://www.experian.com/fraud/center.html. To sign up via TransUnion, use this link: https://www.transunion.com/fraud-victim-resource/place-fraud-alert.
- Second, be diligent. Don’t give out your personal information if it sounds fishy. IDShield members, if you’re unsure, this is a great time to call your licensed private investigator for advice!
- Third, change your passwords for online banking and other financial accounts. This will reduce the risk of your money or assets being moved fraudulently. As you change your password, use your IDShield Vault password manager to generate a new strong password!
And of course, if you don’t yet have IDShield, this is a great time to sign up for comprehensive identity protection and full service, white glove restoration. Visit: legalshield.com/info/NFPA to learn more!