Worried about fraud and identity theft? You can fight back.
Equifax is one of three U.S. companies that track (and rate) the financial history of consumers. It says that criminals exploited a website "vulnerability" to access files that included names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses, credit card numbers and driver's license numbers. The company is offering credit monitoring help, which you should accept. But there is a lot more you can do.
Check Your Report
Consumers can get free copies of credit reports from www.creditreport.com. You can also get one free copy each year from each of the major credit reporting agencies: They are: Equifax (1-800-685-1111 or 866-349-9960) TransUnion (1-800-888-4213); and Experian (1-888-397-3742)
- Sign up for Credit File monitoring by Equifax. The company is providing one free year of service through TrustedID Premier. To enroll, go to www.equifaxsecurity2017.com.
- Check credit union, bank, and credit card statements for any suspicious or unauthorized activity.
- Place “fraud alerts” on your credit reports. This means that any lender must contact you to verify your identity before any credit is issued in your name.
- Consider a long-term freeze to secure your account. However, undoing a freeze can take some time.
- If you see any fraud, immediately take action and report it to your bank, credit union, and/or credit card company.
- Be conscious of any phone calls, emails, or attempts to get additional information from you – for example, your mother’s maiden name. These “phishing” scams are designed to help criminals fill in any information that's missing and are often subtle.