The recent cyber security breach at Equifax has compromised the personally identifiable information [“PII”], including social security numbers and credit card details, of hundreds of thousands of individuals.
There are a number of steps you can take to identify whether your PII has been stolen.
First, go to the Equifax TrustedID website to check the potential impact. False links have already been set up to steal your personal information, so be sure to go to the correct website. Do not follow links in unsolicited emails.
The second and most important step is to monitor your credit by regularly checking your personal credit report. You can get a free report directly from each of the three major credit bureaus (Equifax Alerts, Experian Fraud Center and Transunion Fraud Alert), but you can also go to: www.annualcreditreport.com
Any new lines of credit will show up on your report which can be disputed. Any fraudulent activity should be reported immediately.
Thirdly, consider putting a freeze and fraud alert on all three of your credit reports if you suspect your PII has been stolen. Equifax is waiving any fees for this at the moment. Other sites may impose a fee.
Some red flags that are warning of theft of your PII:
The IRS notifies you that more than one tax return was filed in your name, or that you have income from an employer you don’t work for. If this is the case, please let us know immediately.
Doctors send you a bill for services you weren’t provided.
Merchants decline your check.
You find unusual charges or new accounts on your credit report.
You get calls from a collection firm about debts that aren’t yours.
You see unexplained withdrawals from your bank account.
You stop getting bills in the mail
Your medical insurer declines a claim because their records show you’ve reached your benefits limit.
Your medical insurer won’t cover you because your records show a condition you don’t have