Equifax Aftermath: 6 Tips for Securing Your Personal Information
On September 7, 2017, Equifax announced a CyberSecurity incident impacting a potential 143 million US consumers. The breach occurred from mid-May through July 2017 with criminals gaining access to names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some instances, driver's license numbers. While Equifax has engaged an independent CyberSecurity firm to investigate and determine the scope of the attack, you may be wondering what you can do to keep your information and accounts secure.
Here are a few tips:
Visit https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/consumer-notice/ for the most up-to-date information regarding the breach.
Verify URL's and Email Attachments
We recommend verifying any URL or Email Attachment that may reference Equifax's breach prior to visiting them. Websites such as VirusTotal and Zscaler will run a scan on a URL or file to determine if the site or attachment is safe.
Monitor Email and Verify Contacts
Be sure that you know who you are emailing. Always verify who you are responding to and be wary of unknown contacts. Banks will never contact you via email to discuss your financial situation. If you receive any correspondence that may be from your financial institution, call them and discuss it over the phone. Never send Personally Identifiable Information (PII) via email.
Monitor Financial Accounts
Verify financial transactions and report potential fraud. Most financial companies have fraud alert capabilities that you can enable online or by calling customer service. Institutions can alert you via email, text, or phone if they find fraudulent activity on your account.
Check your Credit Report
The best way to make sure your credit is safe is to monitor your credit reports. Websites such as Annual Credit Report and Credit Karma offer credit reports and monitoring to help you stay on top of your credit situation.
Freeze your Credit Accounts
If you feel that you have been compromised you can place a freeze on your credit reports. This option freezes your credit accounts making it impossible for new credit lines to be opened but it does not stop thieves from using an existing line of credit. You can place a freeze by calling the three main credit bureaus or by visiting their sites.
If you believe your personal information has been stolen and you want to know your rights related to cybercrime, WhiteHawk recommends that you contact your state's Attorney General. You can find your state's Attorney General here.