By now you’ve probably heard about the data breach Equifax encountered, but how much do you know about it, and what might you need to do to protect yourself? Equifax, an often-referenced credit reporting agency, recently announced that approximately 143 million people may have been affected by the hacking of data held by Equifax. Some of the data that could have been accessed includes Social Security numbers and addresses. The number of people affected is so high that it has been strongly encouraged to keep track of this story as it progresses, particularly if you have a credit report.
News of the breach has spread across the US, prompting many questions and plenty of confusion. A great deal of confusion and misinformation began as Equifax began working to rectify the situation. After offering credit protection to help with the breach, some of Equifax’s policies were found either confusing or inadequate, upsetting people who were worried about their potentially stolen data. And Equifax’s website initially may have provided the wrong results when worried people tried to check whether they may have been affected. Equifax has since worked to improve the process, and they have even announced changes to their policies after backlash. Here’s what you need to know to make sure you’re protected:
Equifax Offers TrustedID Premier to Help Protect Users
Equifax’s website allows you to check whether you may have had your data compromised. After visiting their website here, you are given the opportunity to enroll in TrustedID Premier for a free year of protection. TrustedID Premier monitors your credit and your Social Security number, offers identity theft insurance, and more. You will need to enter some of your information, like your Social Security number, to start the process. When enrolling in TrustedID Premier, you will not need to enter your credit card information, because you will not automatically be charged for another year after your free year has ended.
You Can (and Should) Track Your Information
Aside from enrolling in Equifax’s program, you should always keep up with your financial information. One way to do so is to sign up for a website like Credit Karma, a free service that keeps up-to-date information on your credit score and credit activity. If you regularly check your information, you will be able to act more quickly when you see any strange information in your credit activity. It is almost important to keep a close eye on your bank account for any charges you don’t recognize.
People Are Already Suing
There are already reports of class-action lawsuits against Equifax due to the breach. There are already at least 23 lawsuits in the works, and it seems likely that number will grow. If you were affected by the breach, you may consider taking action yourself.
Though the full ramifications of this breach may not be clear quite yet, it certainly is a concerning situation. The information above should help you keep a close eye on your information as we wait for the story to develop.