Consumer Tips: Equifax Data Breach
The national credit reporting bureau Equifax issued a notice to the public that on July 29, 2017, consumer information was accessed that included names, social security numbers, birth dates, addresses, and in some cases driver’s license numbers. Equifax also announced that credit card numbers and credit report dispute documents were also accessed.
The Alaska Office of the Attorney General offers tips for affected consumers and consumers who want to protect their personal information include:
Monitor Your Accounts and Credit Reports, Beware of Scams
Monitor your financial accounts, bank records, health insurance statements, and mail for unusual activity. Look for unusual or unexpected IRS notices.
Monitor your credit reports for unusual activity or accounts you do not recognize. You can get free copies of your credit report online at www.annualcreditreport.com.
Beware of scams related to data breaches. Scammers may pretend to have information about the breach, or falsely claim they want to help you. Don’t give out personal or financial information to anyone who contacts you unexpectedly.
Consumers can place a fraud alert on their credit reports with all three major credit bureaus, free of charge, by contacting any of the credit bureaus. If an imposter attempts to apply for credit using your personal information, the business will be asked to verify your identity before accessing your credit report. An initial fraud alert lasts for 90 days, and can be extended.
Contact one of the credit bureaus to place a fraud alert:
- Experian: 1-888-EXPERIAN (888-397-3742), or Experian Fraud Alert Form
- TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289 or TransUnion Fraud Alert Form
- Equifax: 1-800-525-6285 or Equifax Fraud Alert Form
A security freeze means your credit report cannot be shared with potential creditors that request it. You will not be able to open new credit accounts while the freeze is in place. You can request that the freeze be temporarily lifted for the purpose of obtaining new credit, and will be issued a unique personal information number or password that you will be required to provide along with identification before your credit report is released.
The security freeze will remain in place until you request that it be removed.
To place security freezes on your credit reports, you will need to contact each of the three credit bureaus separately. The credit bureau must place the security freeze on your credit report within five business days, and the credit bureaus have ten days to confirm the security freeze. If you are the parent, legal guardian, or conservator of a minor, incapacitated, or protected person, you can request a credit freeze on behalf of that person.
Consumers can be charged up to $5 by each of the credit bureaus. Credit bureaus can also charge up to $2 for each request you make to access your credit report. Identity theft victims can place a security freeze on their credit reports free of charge.
Contact each of the credit bureaus to place a security freeze:
- Experian: Experian Online Security Freeze Form
- TransUnion: 1-888-909-8872 or TransUnion Online Security Freeze Form
- Equifax: 1-800-685-1111 or Equifax Online Security Freeze Form
Military Active Duty Alert
If you are a service members who is called to activity duty or deployed away from your normal duty station, you can place an active duty alert on your credit report. If a business sees an active duty alert on your credit report, it must verify your identity before issuing credit. You can designate a personal representative who can act on your behalf to verify your identity.
Active duty alerts last one year and can be renewed for a longer period, or removed if needed. If you place an active military alert on your credit report with one of the three credit bureaus, they must notify the other two.
Contact one of the credit bureaus to place an active duty alert:
- Experian: Experian Online Form for Active Duty Alert
- TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289
- Equifax: 1-800-525-6285 or Equifax Online Form for Active Duty Alert
Consumer Protection Unit