On September 7th, Equifax announced a data breach that could affect an estimated 143 Million consumers – that’s more than half of the adults in the United States. Experts agree that in the wake of a data breach of this scale, the best thing you can do to protect yourself, is to assume the worst.
The exposed information includes names, Social Security Numbers, birth dates, addresses, and in some cases driver’s license numbers. A smaller segment of the data, 209,000, included credit card numbers.
Here are a few key points to consider when facing potential identity theft:
- Change your login information with the affected company.
- Consider signing up for a third-party credit monitoring service like Lifelock.
- Equifax is offering a free year of credit monitoring, but realize that the data has longevity, so you will need protection beyond a year. The fine print associated with the free monitoring may require you to waive your right to join a class action suit or taking other legal action against the company.
- Watch out for phishing attacks in the wake of the breach. Attackers may pose as credit monitoring services to steal your personal information.