What Does the Equifax Data Breach Mean For You?
Blake A. Klinkner, Crowley Fleck, PLLP Cheyenne, Wyoming
In early September 2017, consumer credit reporting agency Equifax publicly announced that it was the subject of a major data breach, and as a result, 143 million Americans are now at risk of being victimized by cybercriminals. Cybercriminals had access to sensitive consumer data for two months during the summer of 2017, and once Equifax discovered this data breach, Equifax waited a full month before it notified the public of the data breach and the threat to their personal information which includes names, addresses, Social Security numbers, birth dates, and driver’s licenses.2 Equifax has admitted that it was aware of the security flaw which caused the breach a full two months before the cybercriminals actually used the security flaw to begin stealing consumer data.3
The Equifax data breach is one of the largest in history, and considering that this breach has jeopardized the personal data for over one-third of Americans, the likelihood that your data was among those compromised is sizeable.
For those whose data has likely been exposed (but even for those whose data might have been spared in the Equifax breach), below are some recommendations for reducing the threats to your identity: • Consider checking with Equifax to see if your personal data might have been accessed by cybercriminals. Equifax has created a portal which allows consumers to see if their data might have been among the data accessed by cybercriminals: https:// www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/potential-impact/. Tis website does require you to enter your last name and the last six digits of your Social Security number to access, so if you do access this website, it is important that you only do so on a secured computer with secure internet connection.
• Consider placing a freeze on your credit report. A credit freeze makes it more difficult for a person to open a financial account in your name, by restricting access to your credit report, since institutions generally will not approve a new account if they are...