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How to find out if your info was stolen in the Equifax data breach

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November 29th, 2017
African-American couple at the computer.

African-American couple at the computer.

If you have recently applied for any type of credit—a home loan, car loan, mortgage, or even a new credit card—there’s a good chance you were one of the 145.5 million American consumers whose personal information was exposed in the recent data breach at Equifax, one of the nation’s major credit reporting services.

The breach occurred between May and July of 2017, and the hackers made off with a treasure trove of names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses, and even driver’s license numbers. They also managed to steal over 200,000 credit card numbers.

Here’s how to see if your sensitive information may have been compromised. Go to the special website Equifax established to deal with breach information (equifaxsecurity2017.com) and click on the “Am I impacted?” tab. You’ll be asked for your last name and the last six digits of your social security number. (Be sure to do this on a secure computer using an encrypted network connection.) The site will tell you if your information was breached and will give you steps to take to protect yourself.

Regardless of whether or not you were exposed during the breach, consumers can get one year of free credit monitoring from Equifax. To take advantage of the free monitoring, you must sign up before Jan. 31, 2018, on the Equifax website.

Keep an eye on your info 

In the meantime, you should pay close attention to your credit card statements and bank accounts. If you see anything suspicious, report it immediately. 

You can also monitor your credit report for free at Equifax (equifax.com or 1-888-766-0008), Experian (experian.com or 1-888-397-3742), and TransUnion (transunion.com or 1-800-680-7289).

If you believe you have been the victim of identity theft, you should contact law enforcement authorities, including local law enforcement, your state attorney general, and the Federal Trade Commission (ftc.gov/idtheft or 1-877-IDTHEFT [438-4338]). To find the contact for your state attorney general, visit naag.org/naag/attorneys-general/whos-my-ag.php.

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