Equifax Data Breach Pt. I – How to Know If You Are Affected

What happened?
According to Equifax, which released a statement today, the company’s database was breached through a vulnerability on its website, exposing the personal information of an estimated 143 million people.

What information was accessed?
By exploiting Equifax website’s vulnerability, the hackers were able to acquire names, social security numbers, birth dates, home addresses and some drivers’ license information.

In addition, credit card numbers for an estimated 209,000 consumers and certain dispute documents, which included personal identifying information, for approximately 182,000 consumers were accessed, according to the company.

If you were one of the people whose credit card numbers or dispute documents were exposed, you will receive postal mail letting you know you were affected. Otherwise, you will need to use Equifax’s website to find out if your data was exposed.
How can I find out if I was affected?
Equifax has set up its own program to help people find out if they were one of the millions affected in the hack. Here is an overview of the process:

Step 1: Head to this enrollment page and click “Begin enrollment.” Enter your last name and last six digits of your social security number and head to the next page.

  • Equifax will provide you with an enrollment date for credit monitoring.
  • Equifax will let you know you were not impacted.

Step 2: If you received an enrollment date, you will need to document the date! Equifax does not ask for your email address, so it will not remind you of your enrollment date.

Step 3: On (or after) your enrollment date, head to this page to continue the enrollment process. You have to complete the enrollment process by Nov. 21.
What exactly am I enrolling in?
According to Equifax, those affected are enrolling in a free, one-year subscription TrustedID, which is an identity protection company owned and operated by Equifax. According to this page, the service normally costs $27.99 per month for a family plan.

Once you’re enrolled, TrustedID will: 

  • Provide copies of your Equifax credit report
  • Let you “lock” your Equifax credit report
  • Provide three-bureau credit monitoring of your Equifax, Experian and TransUnion credit reports
  • Provide internet scanning for your Social Security number
  • Include identity theft insurance

Should I be worried about identity theft?

The purpose of the free TrustedID enrollment program is to help protect you from identity theft.

The FTC outlines some of the major signs of identity theft, including:

  • Unexplained withdrawals from your bank accounts
  • You stop getting mail or bills (implying your address has been changed)
  • Debt collectors call about debts you don’t recognize
  • Your medical records don’t match with your history