September 13, 2017
Equifax is one of the oldest and largest credit-monitoring companies, aggregating information on over 800 million consumers. The company provides detailed information about personal credit and payment history of individuals, indicating whether they are eligible to receive a loan. In order to provide a full credit report, Equifax houses an enormous amount of sensitive data, such as full names, Social Security numbers, addresses, birth dates and sometimes driver’s license numbers.
Last week, Equifax revealed their data had been compromised during a cyber-security breach which occurred mid-May through July 2017. Hackers gained access to personal information on 143 million American consumers. Equifax also confirmed at least 209,000 consumers’ credit card credentials were taken during this attack. This means that the opportunity for identity theft has tremendously increased for the majority of American residents.
We at First Home Mortgage understand the seriousness of this attack and need you to realize how important it is to take action immediately and be pro-active so identity theft does not happen to you.
How can I be proactive? Help!
First, monitor your credit report for any suspicious activity. Check to see if new accounts have been opened that you did not open, late payments on debt you do not recognize or fraudulent charges made on a card. You can check your credit report free, once a year here. If you suspect identity theft, contact the credit card company’s fraud department immediately.
For extra protection, freeze your credit with the three major credit bureaus. This is the best way to prevent identity theft. Once accounts are frozen, you will not be able to open new lines of credit or have your credit checked without lifting the freeze. Contact each bureau immediately to freeze your account. Or, request a freeze online. Note: You will not be able to freeze your credit if you are currently pending a large purchase or financing activity.
Equifax is offering free credit monitoring and identity theft protection to all who may have been impacted, for one year. You may also enroll in Equifax’s program to see if you are one of the millions affected by the hack. To get started, enroll here to begin. The enrollment process must be completed by November 21, 2017.
For additional information on what to do if you are a victim of identity theft, click here. This site will guide you on how to report identity theft if, for example, someone else filed a tax return using your information, if your information was exposed in a data breach or anything else.
Still not sure how to get started or need additional information? Contact your local First Home Mortgage Loan Officer today and they will help point you in the right direction.