Equifax Data Breach: What you need to know
On September 7th, 2017, Equifax Inc. announced their systems had suffered a data breach that may affect as many as 143 million Americans. According to Equifax, hackers gained access to certain files between mid-May and late July of this year. Information in the breach includes consumers’ names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, and addresses. Some consumers’ credit card numbers, driver’s license numbers, and dispute documents were also accessed.
Equifax has set up a website (www.equifaxsecurity2017.com) that allows consumers to check if their information may have been exposed by the breach and has established a dedicated call center at (866) 447-7559 to answer consumers’ questions about the breach. The call center is open every day from 6:00am to 12:00am, Central Time.
Since the announcement, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) and the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) have been investigating the data breach and working to inform Wisconsin residents on how to best protect themselves.
DATCP advises all affected Wisconsin consumers to take additional steps to protect their credit record. If you believe you may have been affected by this data breach, click here to information on the next steps.
Additionally, DATCP urges 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 out scammers, 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. Click here for information on what to do if you believe your information has been compromised.
Wisconsin’s Attorney General Brad Schimel and the DOJ continue their investigation of the Equifax data breach. Attorney General Schimel issued a subpoena seeking detailed information from the company about the breach and the Wisconsin residents who were affected. The department will use all tool available to ensure Equifax is acting responsibly, to determine any violations of law, and to establish the remedies available affected consumers. Additionally, Attorney General Schimel has requested Equifax disable links to its fee-based services, extend the free services until at least January 31, 2018, and reimburse consumers who incur fees while freezing their credit.