September 18, 2017 – Equifax, one of the largest credit reporting agencies in the United States, was recently the victim of a massive cyber attack, potentially compromising the personal information of 143 million people.
The breach itself occurred between mid-May and July 2017 when cyber criminals gained access to sensitive data by exploiting a weak point in website software. As a result of the attack, sensitive information like Social Security numbers, birthdays, addresses and driver’s license numbers were compromised. Equifax has stated 209,000 credit card numbers were also stolen.
At first, it may not be obvious you are a customer of Equifax, as the company gets its data from credit card companies, banks and lenders who report on credit activity. It’s safe to assume, however, that anyone with a credit report is at-risk of being affected. As such, it’s important to follow the appropriate steps and check to see if your information was compromised.
Check If You Were Affected
If you’re concerned you may have been impacted by the breach, Equifax has set up a website to help individuals determine if any of their personal information may have been stolen. Once you’ve navigated the website, complete the following steps:
- Click the “Check Potential Impact” button.
- Provide your last name and the last six digits of your Social Security number.
From there, a dialogue box will appear and indicate whether or not your information was lost in the hack. All U.S. customers will also be given the opportunity to sign up for TrustedID Premier, which is an Equifax service that includes identify theft insurance, credit reports, and a service that searches the internet and alerts you if your Social Security number is posted somewhere online. This service will be free-of-charge for one year for those who sign up by November 21, 2017.
Consider a Credit Freeze
If you have been impacted by the breach, experts recommend engaging in a credit freeze. This effectively locks down your Social Security number on your credit report and prevents criminals from opening up new lines of credit under your name. For more information on credit freezes, visit the Federal Trade Commission’s website.
North Risk Partners will continue to monitor the Equifax cyber incident and provide updates as necessary. If you have questions related to this update, please contact your North Risk Partners advisor. Don’t have an advisor? No problem. We’ll help you find one.
This regulatory update is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as legal advice. Readers should contact legal counsel for legal advice.