EQUIFAX DATA BREACH – Are you vulnerable?

by | Sep 12, 2017 | Blog, Personal, Security

EQUIFAX DATA BREACH  on September 7, 2017

On Thursday, September 7th, Equifax the credit monitoring company announced that a huge security breach.   This security breach exposed sensitive personal identifying information of up to 143 million Americans.  This data includes social security numbers, addresses, names, and date of birth.  Below are a list of recommended security precautions that you as a consumer can proactively pursue.  If you are concerned that your business might be vulnerable to hackers, contact us so we can help assess your risk and identify what’s at stake.

What should I do to protect myself?

  1. Expect an increased amount of Phishing emails about the Equifax breach.
    Be on high alert for the next few months for phishing emails. Do not click on any links, or open any attachments, in emails about the breach.  Be wary of:

    1. Messages containing poor spelling and grammar
    2. Messages asking for personal information
    3. Messages in which you did not initiate the action
    4. Unsolicited messages from a government agency
    5. Mismatched domain names from the sender.

Did you know that Tekmanagement offers monthly automated phishing training to all of it’s clients and employees?  Give us a call and we’ll get you educated, and reduce your vulnerability.

Read more: 10 tips for spotting a phishing email

  1. Sign up for an online account with the Social Security Administration
    The information about you contained in the Equifax Leak provides enough information for a criminal to open an account in your name. Create the account now so you can control the information and set a password.
    Go to https://www.ssa.gov/myaccount/ to sign up.
  2. Check to see if your information has been compromised and sign up for free credit monitoring.
    Equifax has a website, https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/dedicated to this event. There you can check to see if your information was impacted.
    Regardless of if your information was accessed in the breach, take them up on the offer to provide free credit monitoring through TrustedID Premier. Follow the instructions exactly, and be sure to record the enrollment date.  And enroll your family members as well.

    On your enrollment date, you will have to return to the link they gave you and continue through the enrollment process. Once enrolled, Equifax will monitor your credit and alert you if there is a problem.

  1. Place a security freeze on your credit file with each of the major credit bureaus
    This is the single most effective thing you can do to prevent identity theft that is financially motivated.  A security freeze blocks creditors from being able to view your credit file unless you take action to unfreeze your file beforehand.
    Yes, there is a small fee associated with it (some do it for free.) Yes, it is a bit of a pain. But it is a lot less painful than having to deal with a destroyed credit rating, having collection agencies hound you for payments, and dealing with all the other problems associated with having your identity stolen.

    To place a freeze, visit these sites:

o    Equifax: https://help.equifax.com/s/article/ka137000000DSDjAAO/How-do-I-place-a-security-freeze-on-my-Equifax-credit-file

o    Experian: https://www.experian.com/freeze/center.html

o    Innovis: https://www.innovis.com/personal/securityFreeze

o   TransUnion: https://www.transunion.com/credit-freeze/place-credit-freeze

Note: You’ll get a PIN from each of the sites to unfreeze your credit. Do not forget that PIN! Write it down and store it in a safe place.

5. Check your credit report at least annually.

Each of the major credit reporting bureaus are required to provide you a free copy of your credit report each year to check your vulnerability.  You can get a copy of yours by visiting http://annualcreditreport.com/ Mark a date on your calendar, check it when you do your taxes, or on your birthday. But at least once a year.

If you are concerned that your business might be vulnerable to hackers, Contact Us so we can help asses your risk whats at stake.

Official statement from Equifax:  Equifax Cybersecurity Incident Q & A

Credits to: Oregon State University (OSU): Equifax Data Breach: Information for the OSU Community