December 15

Equifax Data Breach

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The Federal Trade Commission reached a settlement with Equifax over the data breach that occurred back in July of 2017. The deadline to submit a claim is January 22nd, 2020.

You might recall that Equifax, one of the big three credit reporting bureaus, disclosed that a data breach it discovered on July 29, 2017. The breach may have exposed as many as 143 million U.S. consumers to the risk of identity theft. Seven months later, in March 2018, the company announced that another 2.4 million people had their data stolen in the same breach. That means close to half the U.S. population could feel some impact.

The breach resulted in hackers stealing credit card and driver’s license information, Social Security numbers, addresses, birthdates and other personal data stored on Equifax’s servers.

Step 1
To find out if your information was exposed to the breach you can visit the FTC
You’ll need to enter your last name and last six digits of your Social Security number to see if your data was shared in the breach.

Step 2
Once you’ve submitted your claim we recommend you sign up for one of the free credit self-monitoring tools like Credit Karma or Credit Sesame. These services allow for you to quickly check in on your credit and make sure no one is opening accounts under your name.

Step 3
As an abundance of caution you may consider freezing your credit.
A credit freeze is one of the most effective ways for you to protect yourself against identity theft and stop criminals from opening lines of credit in your name.
A good site for Frequently asked questions about credit freezes

In order to implement a credit freeze you will need to contact each of the 3 credit agencies. You can do this online, by phone, or by mail. The online method may be the quickest but I know several people who have had trouble answering the security questions to identify themselves. I recommend trying it online first and then an alternate method if you get stuck in the process.

Equifax Security Freeze – PO Box 105788 Atlanta, GA 30348 | 800-685-1111
Experian Security Freeze – PO Box 9554 Allen, TX 75013 | 888-397-3742
TransUnion Security Freeze – PO Box 2000 Chester, PA 19016-2000 | 888-909-8872

See here for a sample letter should you choose to mail in for your credit freeze

Date

Equifax Security Freeze
P.O. Box 105788
Atlanta, GA 30348

Dear Equifax Credit Freeze Department:

I would like place a credit freeze to my credit profile.
My full name is:
My Former name was (If Applicable):
My Social Security Number is:
My Date of Birth is:
My Drivers’ License State and Number is:
My Current Address is:
My former address (for those who may have moved in the last 5 years) was:
One piece of ID is included which verifies my address:
(copy of drivers license, W2 or 1099 form, water bill, electric bill)

MY SIGNATURE:
______________________________


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About the author

Gardner is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER and principal of Sherrill Wealth Management in Bradenton, Florida. He has spent 20+ years in the wealth management field helping families negotiate the various obstacles and opportunities that retirement provides them.
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