DATCP Consumer Alert: Equifax Data Breach
Phone scams are the next risk
Earlier this month, Equifax announced there was a cyber security breach which potentially impacted 143 million U.S. customers. The information which was accessed included: names, social security numbers, and addresses and in some instances, driver’s license numbers. Credit card numbers for approximately 209,000 U. S. customers were also accessed.
Equifax has established a dedicated website, www.equifaxsecurity2017.com
, to help consumers determine if their information has been potentially impacted and to sign up for credit file monitoring and identity theft protection. The offering, called TrustedID Premier, includes 3-Bureau credit monitoring of Equifax, Experian and TransUnion credit reports; copies of Equifax credit reports; the ability to lock and unlock Equifax credit reports; identity theft insurance; and Internet scanning for Social Security numbers - all complimentary to U.S. consumers for one year.
Equifax has established a dedicated call center to answer consumers’ questions about the breach. The call center can be reached at: (866) 447-7559.
The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) offers the following resources for those who think they may have been affected by the data breach:
- Download a copy of the DATCP fact sheet "Data Breach: What to do if it happens to you."
- Consider placing a free 90-day (renewable) fraud alert on your credit reports by contacting another credit reporting bureau: Experian (888-397-3742) or TransUnion (800-680-7289. When you place a fraud alert with one bureau, that bureau will relay the request to the other two companies on your behalf. A fraud alert warns creditors that you may be an identity theft victim and that they should verify that anyone seeking credit in your name is actually you.
- For an even higher level of protection, you may wish to place a security freeze on your credit reports. A freeze bars access to your reports to almost anyone without your express permission. Additional information about freezes is available in DATCP's credit report security freeze fact sheet.
- Request a free credit report from the three credit bureaus by visiting www.annualcreditreport.com or calling (877) 322-8228. Check your report for irregularities.
- If you have additional questions about identity theft or wish to file an identity theft complaint with DATCP, visit datcp.wi.gov or contact the Bureau of Consumer Protection by phone at (800) 422-7128 or by email: DATCPWisconsinPrivacy@wi.gov.
In the aftermath of the recent Equifax data breach, the DATCP asks Wisconsin residents to be on the lookout for unsolicited calls requesting sensitive personal or financial information.
An event of this scale is sure to bring scammers out of the woodwork, and one of the potential risks at this point is con artists preying on consumers through misinformation. Neither Equifax nor any bank will call you and request your Social Security number or other sensitive details. If you receive an unsolicited call from someone who claims that they can verify whether your information was affected in the breach or that they provide services to affected consumers, hang up the phone. Do not engage with the caller and do not provide any information.
Be wary of a call from someone claiming to be from your lending institution. Hang up and call the institution back at a number listed in the phone book, in one of your statements, or on the business’s website. Never return a call on the number provided to you in an unsolicited call, and do not trust that the information on your caller ID is accurate.