Most people don’t think much about identity theft until it happens to them. With the recent data hack at Equifax, many consumers are concerned about their private information.
If you think that “it can’t happen to me” just know that reports say over 44% (143 million people) of the US population may be affected. The Equifax data breach is said to have included names, addresses, birth dates, social security numbers, driver license numbers and possibly credit card numbers and other personal information. Exactly what thieves need to steal your identity.
So, what should you do? Who should you trust? Equifax? Your bank or credit union? identifytheft.gov? Your personal financial advisor? The simple answer is:
It’s up to you to protect your personal information.
We suggest that you become knowledgeable about — if not an expert on — your personal financial security and your personal information, and how to keep this information safe.
Your first stop should be Equifax to determine if you’re a victim.
The company has set up a website to assist with these concerns. Here you can learn if you may be affected by the data breach. Equifax also offers a year of free credit file monitoring and identity theft protection which you can register for.
You may also want to check out these additional resources:
npr.org – “6 Tips to Protect Your Data”
Important Contact Information:
Equifax Credit Information Services, LLC
P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374
866-349- 5186: Dispute Credit Report Items
800-685- 1111: Request Free Credit Report
888-766- 0008: Place Fraud Alert on Profile
404-885- 8078: Fax Number.
Experian National Consumer Assistance Center
P.O. Box 4500, Allen, TX 75013
800-509- 8495: Dispute Credit Report Items
888-397- 3742: Report Requests & Fraud Help
972-390- 4908: Fax Line
TransUnion Consumer Relations
P.O. Box 2000, Chester, PA 19016-2000
800-916- 8800: Disputes Items & Status Checks
877-322- 8228: Free Annual Credit Report
800-888- 4213: Purchase Credit Report
888-909- 8872: Place a Security Freeze
800-493- 2392: Credit Monitoring Support
610-546- 4771: Fax Machine
Want more information? Contact your own bank, credit union or personal financial advisor.