Between mid-May and July of 2016 hackers were busy digging into and stealing the personal financial information of 143 million people.
Equifax, one of the nation’s three major credit reporting agencies, had been hacked.
The hackers accessed names, Social Security numbers, bank account numbers, birth dates, addresses, medical records, credit history, and in some cases even driver’s license numbers. Everything they need to steal your identity. They also stole credit card numbers for 209,000 people.
This breach and others like the one at Target in 2013, where 40 million credit card numbers were stolen, puts a greater emphasis on the need for credit monitoring.
If you have a credit report, there’s a very good chance you were affected by the breach. Here’s how you can find out if you were actually affected along with some steps to help protect your information from being misused.
There has been a rumor going around that clicking the link at the Equifax website or taking advantage of a free one year identity theft protection offer will cause you to waive your rights to any potential class action lawsuits. THIS IS NOT TRUE. The free identity theft protection offer is good through January 31, 2018.
On a side note, two-thirds of credit reports contain inaccurate information and you have the right to dispute any information you believe to be incorrect. The credit reporting agencies then have 30 days to determine if the disputed information is correct or not.
Here’s contact information for the three major Credit Reporting Agencies.
PO Box 740241
Atlanta, GA 30374
PO Box 1000
Chester, PA 19022
PO Box 4500
Allen, TX 75013