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The Equifax Breach – Protect your personal information being misused

Sent on Behalf of President Spence:

Dear PEF Member:

The Equifax breach is a stark reminder about identity theft protection. Every year 10 million Americans have their identity stolen. Here is what you need to know about the Equifax breach.  NYS Attorney General Schneiderman launches investigation.

Equifax Breach Quick Facts: Equifax is one of the 3 major credit bureaus and has access to some of the most sensitive information. If you have a credit report, there’s a good chance that you’re one of the 143 million American consumers whose sensitive personal information was exposed in a data breach at Equifax.

Number of people affected: Approximately 143 million Americans, which is 44% of the population.

Types of data compromised: Social Security numbers, driver’s license numbers, date of birth, credit card information and more…

What does this mean? 143 million people and their families are at risk of their identities being stolen and it could take up to 18 months to resolve, and they may need to take off work time to deal with this issue.

What can you do? There are steps to take to help protect your information from being misused. Visit Equifax’s website, www.equifaxsecurity2017.com. (This link takes you away from our site. Equifaxsecurity2017.com is not controlled by the FTC.)

  • Find out if your information was exposed. Click on the “Potential Impact” tab and enter your last name and the last six digits of your Social Security number. Your Social Security number is sensitive information, so make sure you’re on a secure computer and an encrypted network connection any time you enter it. The site will tell you if you’ve been affected by this breach.
  • Whether or not your information was exposed, U.S. consumers can get a year of free credit monitoring and other services. The site will give you a date when you can come back to enroll. Write down the date and come back to the site and click “Enroll” on that date. You have until November 21, 2017 to enroll.
  • You also can access frequently asked questions at the site.

Here are some other steps to take to help protect yourself after a data breach:

  • As a PEF member you can visit PEF Member Benefits Identity Theft Services
  • Check your credit reports from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — for free — by visiting annualcreditreport.com. Accounts or activity that you don’t recognize could indicate identity theft. Visit IdentityTheft.gov to find out what to do.
  • Monitor your existing credit card and bank accounts closely for charges you don’t recognize.
  • Consider placing a fraud alert on your files. A fraud alert warns creditors that you may be an identity theft victim and that they should verify that anyone seeking credit in your name really is you.
  • File your taxes early — as soon as you have the tax information you need, before a scammer can. Tax identity theft happens when someone uses your Social Security number to get a tax refund or a job. Respond right away to letters from the IRS.

Visit Identitytheft.gov/databreach to learn more about protecting yourself after a data breach.

Wayne Spence
PEF President