Security Breach at Credit Reporting Company, Equifax. The credit reporting firm Equifax caused an uproar when it admitted they had been hacked to the tune of approximately 143 million Americans. By the time the company reported it, there was nothing that could be done.
This could be the worst personal information leak of all time. Included in the data lost – full names, addresses, birth dates, social security numbers, driver’s license numbers, etc. In essence, the data represents most of the information banks use to confirm their customer’s identity. The breach means that criminals around the world now have unlimited data on millions of people. Hackers have hit other sites before. But in most cases, a victim could combat the damage by changing passwords or getting new credit card numbers. Now, too much information is in the hands of the bad guys. To make matters worse, the company waited five weeks to inform the public of the breach, not to mention three Company executives were permitted to unload $1.8 million worth of stock just days after the discovery.
The company finally responded by saying hackers stole personal data such as credit card numbers, dates of birth, addresses, names and social security numbers. Initially, the company offered victim’s credit monitoring for free for one year before people realized this wouldn’t stop anyone with your credit information from opening up credit cards all over the country and enjoying spending sprees which ultimately you would be responsible for.
Industry analysts say the only way for people who have been severely compromised to put a stop to it is a credit freeze.
A credit freeze prevents creditors from reading your credit report. Lenders and other companies, not even you, can view your account. It prevents credit applications and loans from being approved without your consent. Unfortunately, this will not stop people from accessing existing accounts. It just prevents new ones.
“You never know for sure 100%, but you should assume your data has been compromised either in this breach or in previous breaches,” said Avivah Litan, a security analyst at the financial research firm Gartner. “Well over half the population has been breached, even before this. There is a greater than 50% chance that your data has been compromised. That is what you should assume, no matter who tells you what.”
Other ways to monitor your credit is to check your score. It is suggested that you do so about every four months. You should also monitor your accounts for any abnormal activity. You can also sign up for fraud alerts. This is an easy way to ensure no one tries to open an account using your name. You can do this through your bank and or your credit card company. You are then alerted if anyone attempts to open an account in your name.
Deciding to get a credit freeze and doing so is no easy fete. Customers calling Equifax Reported the phones being answered by people who did not even know what they were talking about. To make matters worse, instead of assigning random pins, early pin codes were nothing more than the date and time they called.
To put a stop once and for all on fraud perpetrated in your name, you could consider changing your social security number. Changing your Social Security Number should only be an option if all else has failed.
Parker Waichman LLP is a national law firm with the expertise and experience to represent you in all matters of consumer fraud. Call us for a free case evaluation, 1-800-YOURLAWYER, (1-800-968-7529.) Call now to learn more about how we can help you!