Consumer Alert on Equifax Breach
The Iowa Attorney General's Office has issued a Consumer Alert regarding the recent Equifax data breach. Over 1 million Iowans are believed to be impacted by this breach. The consumer alert provides information on how to determine if you were impacted and actions consumers may want to take if your information was identified as part of the breach.
Other sources that explain the breach in terms most consumers can understand are listed below:
- Krebs On Security - The Equifax Breach: What You Should Know
- The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) - The Equifax Data Breach: What You Should Do
- MoneyWatch - Equifax Data Breach: How to Protect Your Credit Rating
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has listed many steps consumers can take if their information has been identified as part of the breach.
- Monitor your credit reports - Consumers are entitled to an annual free credit report from each of the 3 major credit reporting agencies. You may request these reports through www.annualcreditreport.com. The FTC recommends consumer request 1 report every 4 months rather than requesting all 3 reports at the same time. If you find unusual activity, you may be a victim of identity theft. Visit identitytheft.gov to report and recover from identity theft.
- Consider placing a credit freeze or a fraud alert on your credit files - see the Krebs On Security article for a clear description of the difference between a credit freeze and a fraud alert .
- Monitor all financial accounts - Review your bank, credit union, and credit card accounts closely for unauthorized or unusual charges.
- File your taxes early - File your taxes as soon as you receive all tax forms and information. Criminals can use your social security number to file fake tax returns.
- Watch out for Scams - There are reports that criminals are contacting individuals by phone who claim to be Equifax and ask for information from you to determine if you have been a victim of the breach. A fake web site, similar to the official Equifax site, was established that collects your personal information. Make sure you use the official site, www.equifaxsecurity2017.com, while on a password protected internet network that is not publicly accessible, or call Equifax directly at 1-800-525-6285 to determine if you are a victim of the breach.
To learn more about steps to take if you are a victim of a data breach, visit identitytheft.gov/databreach. Specific information pertaining to the Equifax data breach can be found by visiting identitytheft.gov/equifax.
Consumers with questions or complaints can contact the Iowa Consumer Protection Division through their website, via email, or call 515-281-5926 or toll-free at 888-777-4590 (outside the Des Moines metro area only).