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How To Protect Yourself After The Equifax Hack

September 13, 2017 by  
Filed under Blogs, Identity Theft

steps to protect yourself after equifax breach

A few days into learning that Equifax has been hacked the dust has settled and the shock of the largest security breach in modern financial history has become a part of our everyday lives – what do you do now?

Hacks like this are occurring more and more often and unfortunately, becoming a part of everyday life in the 21st century. Recent hacks include Yahoo, the IRS, the DNC, Snapchat, Netflix, US Dept. of Vet Affairs, Home Depot, T-Mobile/Experian, UPS, Twitter, Evernote, AOL, AMG, Citi, Zappos, Red Cross, Quest Diagnostics, Banner Health, British Airways, Linkedin, the list goes on and on and on.

You can view an interactive infographic of the worlds largest data breaches here.

You can no longer depend on others to protect your private and personal financial information, at this point we must all assume that criminals have access to all of our names, addresses, phone numbers, social security numbers, drivers license numbers, etc…, pretty much everything. Knowing all of this, it’s up to each of us to be diligent in protecting our own identities and the identities of our families.

So how do you protect yourself and your credit?

It’s time to get proactive about protecting your identity and your credit. Follow the following steps to protect yourself from the current Equifax data breach as well as inevitable future hacks.

1. Find Out If You’re Affected

Equifax has created a website dedicated to information about the hack. You can view if your information was impacted by the hack via the following link:
https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/potential-impact/

Click “Check Potential Impact” and enter your information on the following page.
If your information was compromised you will be given the following message;
Based on the information provided, we believe that your personal information may have been impacted by this incident.

You will then be given instructions on enrolling in TrustedID Premier for 1 year at no charge with no credit card required.

NOTE: You have until November 21, 2017 to enroll.

TrustedID Premier includes:

3-Bureau Credit File Monitoring
– Credit file monitoring and automated alerts of key changes to your Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion credit files.

Equifax Credit Report Lock
– Allows you to prevent access to your Equifax credit report by third parties, with certain exceptions.

Social Security Number Scanning
– Searches suspicious web sites for your Social Security number.

Equifax Credit Report
– A copy of your Equifax Credit Report.

$1MM Identity Theft Insurance
– Up to $1 million in ID theft insurance. Helps pay for certain out-of-pocket expenses in the event you are a victim of identity theft.

NOTE: There was some confusion whether signing up for the credit monitoring service meant that consumers signed away their right to sue Equifax via an arbitration clause.

On 9/11/2017, Equifax posted an update on their website, which included the following: “We’ve added an FAQ to our website to confirm that enrolling in the free credit file monitoring and identity theft protection that we are offering as part of this cybersecurity incident does not waive any rights to take legal action. We removed that language from the Terms of Use on the website, www.equifaxsecurity2017.com. The Terms of Use on www.equifax.com do not apply to the TrustedID Premier product being offered to consumers as a result of the cybersecurity incident.”

2. File a Fraud Alert

A fraud alert is an instrument given to you by the 3 credit reporting agencies, Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion, which notifies lenders and creditors who pull your report to take additional steps to verify your identification before extending credit.

A fraud alert only allows creditors to gain access to your credit reports if they verify your identity. For example, if someone applies for an auto loan in your name and you have a fraud alert active on your credit file, the business must call you to verify whether you are the person applying for the loan before accessing your credit reports. If you do not verify that you are the person applying for credit or simply do not pick up the phone, the business will not be given access to your credit report and loan will not be made.

According to the FCRA, consumers may initiate a Fraud Alert with any of the 3 credit bureaus for free at any time. You do not need to contact each of the 3 bureaus to initiate the fraud alert, by law, once one credit bureau is notified of your request for a fraud alert, they will contact the remaining 2 credit bureaus to initiate a fraud alert with them as well.

There are 3 different Fraud Alerts

1. Initial Fraud Alert
This fraud alert is available for everyone at any time and lasts for a period of 90 days.

2. Extended Fraud Alert
This fraud alert is only available to actual victims of Identity theft or fraud. You will have to forward a copy of an Identity Theft Report to initiate this alert. This fraud alert entitles you to 2 free credit reports from each of the credit bureaus within the first 2 months of initiating the alert as well as another free report within the next 12 months. This fraud alert lasts for a period of 90 days.

3. Active Duty Military Alert
This fraud alert is available to service members on active duty and lasts for a peiod of 1 year.

We suggest that everyone activate an initial fraud alert on their credit to add an extra layer of protection from identity theft.

You may initiate the fraud alert online, by mail or by phone via the following info;

TransUnion:
1-800-680-7289
https://www.transunion.com/fraud-victim-resource/place-fraud-alert
Fraud Victim Assistance Division, P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92834-6790

Equifax:
1-800-525-6285
https://www.alerts.equifax.com/AutoFraud_Online/jsp/fraudAlert.jsp
P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374-0241

Experian:
1-888-EXPERIAN(397-3742)
https://www.experian.com/fraud/center.html
P.O. Box 9554, Allen, TX 75013

Please Note that you can request that a Fraud Alert be removed at any time.

3. Review Your Credit Reports

Get your free credit reports from all 3 credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion) at www.annualcreditreport.com. Once you have the reports, review them and look for anything out of the ordinary like suspicious addresses, phone numbers, and account information. If you notice any suspicious activity on your credit reports make sure that you contact the credit bureaus, the creditor reporting the information, the FTC, the CFPB, and if necessary your local law enforcement. If you need help dealing with identity theft on your credit reports contact CreditFirm.Net at 800-750-1416 for help.

4. File Your Taxes Early

The Equifax data breach gave hackers access to your personal data including your name, address, phone numbers, date of birth, social, and other financial information which, in the wrong hands, can be used by criminals to file your taxes and steal your refund. Don’t wait till the last minute, file your taxes as early as possible to safeguard your refund.

5. Be Weary of Scam Phone Calls

Now that your social security number may be compromised and in the wrong hands, be weary of calls from collection agencies or even people claiming to be from the IRS demanding payment on a debt. They may threaten you with lawsuits and jail time and even have your personal info like your social and date of birth to confirm your identity but, the law is on your side. If you receive calls from anyone claiming that you owe them money, whether it’s the IRS, Collection Agency, or Law Firm, you can simply demand that the person stop calling you and forward any future communications to you via standard mail in accordance with the FDCPA. If you receive a document in the mail from a collection agency requesting payment on a debt, consider requesting Debt Validation from the collection agency – which forces the agency to provide copies of documents which you signed with the original creditor corroborating their story and proving your liability in the debt. If you are receiving calls or mail from companies demanding payment on debt that you’re not sure about, contact CreditFirm.Net at 800-750-1416 for help.

6. Check in With Your Local DMV

Part of the security breach at Equifax included access to data such as your drivers license numbers. Although less common than typical identity theft that involves accounts being opened in consumers names, some criminals may attempt to create fake drivers licenses with your information and numbers which may lead to parking tickets, moving violations and in some cases even arrest warrants. Check in with your local Department of Motor Vehicles or Secretary of State office every once in a while and request a copy of your driving record.

Be Proactive About Protecting Your Credit

Stay on top of your credit and personal information, make sure that you keep an eye out for any suspicious activity, and if you have any questions or need help resolving an identity theft or credit issue you can call 800-750-1416 for help.

 

 

Why Choose CreditFirm.net?

Assurance. Our Credit Repair process was developed by experienced attorneys.

Speed. Documents are typically processed and sent out for investigation within 3-5 days.

Support. Award winning customer service guarantees your satisfaction.

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Equifax Hacked: 143 Million Identities Stolen

September 7, 2017 by  
Filed under Blogs, Identity Theft

equifax breach

Thursday September 7, 2017 – Equifax reveals that sometime between May and July of 2017, criminals hacked their system by exploiting a vulnerability in a website application to gain access to consumer credit information including;
– Names
– Birth Dates
– Social Security Numbers
– Addresses
– Drivers License Numbers
– Over 209,000 Credit Card Numbers
– Credit Dispute Documents for 182,000 Consumers

According to Equifax, this hack has affected as many as 143 million U.S. consumers. Equifax, is working with Federal and State authorities as well as a leading private security firm on investigating the data breach but, in the meantime they are reaching out and contacting consumers who’s information was compromised via email.

The hack also exposed data of an unknown number of UK and Canadian consumers which makes this a global disaster for Equifax and every consumer affected.

On top of everything, according to the SEC, 3 Equifax executives, including Chief Financial Officer (CFO) John Gamble Jr., sold nearly $2 million in Equifax stock days after the data breach was discovered. The SEC declined to comment on the matter but, criminal charges may be pending.

You can find out if YOUR personal information was compromised by this hack at the following Equifax website: https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/potential-impact/

NOTE: This may be a great time to initiate a FREE fraud alert on your credit file to add an extra layer of security. And as always, keep an eye out for any suspicious activity on your credit reports. You can learn more about adding a Fraud Alert to your credit file at the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) website: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0275-place-fraud-alert

In response, Equifax is offering every consumer in the U.S. FREE ID Theft Protection and FREE Credit Monitoring. Here’s a short message from Rick Smith, Chairman and CEO of Equifax.

UPDATE: Find out how to protect yourself and your credit after the Equifax data breach.

If your credit information was compromised and you’re dealing with Identity Theft, contact us at 800-750-1416 to find out how me can help you get your life back.

 

 

Why Choose CreditFirm.net?

Assurance. Our Credit Repair process was developed by experienced attorneys.

Speed. Documents are typically processed and sent out for investigation within 3-5 days.

Support. Award winning customer service guarantees your satisfaction.

CreditFirm.net Review

IRS Hacked

May 26, 2015 by  
Filed under Blogs, Identity Theft

internal revenue service logo

Over 100,000 Tax Returns Breached

According to the Internal Revenue Service, hackers gained access to a secure system called “Get Transcript” and stole personal information such as social security numbers, dates of birth, addresses, along with complete tax returns to over 100,000 individuals.

The data breach is being investigated by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration as well as the IRS Criminal Investigation unit. In the mean time, the “Get Transcript” application has been shut down temporarily.

The IRS will provide free credit monitoring services for the approximately 100,000 taxpayers whose accounts were accessed.

If your one of the 100,000 individuals who’s personal-confidential information was accessed, the IRS will be notifying you of this by mail and giving you access to free credit monitoring.

You can read more about identity theft here, and the 4 critical steps to recovering your credit.

http://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/IRS-Statement-on-the-Get-Transcript-Application

If you’ve been a victim of identity theft and need professional help to recover, we’re here for you.

 

Why Choose CreditFirm.net?

Assurance. Our Credit Repair process was developed by experienced attorneys.

Speed. Documents are typically processed and sent out for investigation within 3-5 days.

Support. Award winning customer service guarantees your satisfaction.

CreditFirm.net Review

Was Your Credit Card Info Stolen From Target?

December 20, 2013 by  
Filed under Blogs, Identity Theft

by: .

target identity theft

If you shopped at a Target retail store in the United States between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15, 2013, your credit card information HAS been stolen, along with 40 million other credit and debit card accounts.

Target has confirmed that a massive data breech, orchestrated by hackers, infected all of the retail giant’s Point of Sale machines with a computer virus that stole credit/debit card information upon any in store transaction.

The type of data stolen included the magnetic strip from the back of the cards which would allow criminals to create counterfeit cards by encoding your credit/debit card info onto any card with a magnetic strip, such as a gift card.

And although Target spokesman Eric Hausman said, “There is no indication that debit card PINs were impacted.” The thieves may have also been able to swipe PIN data from debit card transactions without Target’s knowledge, which could theoretically be used to withdraw cash from ATMs.

In fact, according to Brian Krebs of KrebsOnSecurity, “Credit and debit card accounts stolen in a recent data breach at retail giant Target have been flooding underground black markets in recent weeks, selling in batches of one million cards and going for anywhere from $20 to more than $100 per card.”

The Secret Service also confirmed it was investigating the security issue that began the day before Thanksgiving and ran through December 15.

The stolen data includes;
– customer names
– customer dates of birth
– credit and debit card numbers
– card expiration dates
– the three-digit security codes located on the backs of cards
– the magnetic strip from the back of the cards

But what exactly is Target going to do to help the millions of consumers whose credit/debit card information they lost?

Fear not, Target wrote you a letter!

The letter basically states that you should monitor your credit card and bank statements and make sure that you do not see any unauthorized charges.

They also suggested that you monitor your credit reports to make sure that someone doesn’t steal your identity and open fraudulent accounts under your name.

If you do see unauthorized charges or fraudulent accounts, Target suggests that you address it immediately.

In short, Target isn’t going to do anything to help you; they are leaving it completely up to you. But at least they wrote you a letter!

UPDATE: Lawsuit Filed against Target for credit/debit card breach. Read more

So what do you do?
1. Watch this short video from the FTC on protecting your Identity.

2. Monitor your credit (for FREE).
Use one or all of the following free services to keep a close eye on your credit.
www.quizzle.com
www.creditsesame.com
www.creditkarma.com

But what if your Identity has already been compromised?

You can read more about identity theft here, and the 4 critical steps to recovering your credit.

Protect Your Smartphone from ID Theft

February 17, 2013 by  
Filed under Blogs, Identity Theft

by: .
protect your smartphone

Smartphones have quickly become the consumer’s preferred choice for internet browsing, video streaming, GPS navigation, and of course running third party applications. We check our emails, store passwords, addresses, phone numbers, calenders, and bank account information on these devices.  With so much personal information on such a small mobile device, how secure is of your data from the common criminal?

So, how do you protect yourself and your private data from falling into the wrong hands. Just look at it this way, you’d never hand over family photos, your checking account numbers, or a stack of email to a perfect stranger, would you?

Of course not—but that’s essentially what you’d be doing by not following a few common sense rules to protecting your data.

oneLack of Password Protection

This is the most simple and easy thing you can do to protect your data. Most identity thieves are not computer hackers and will not waste their time breaking into your phone, they will most likely move on to the next phone (without a password lock). Locking your phone is an absolute must, if you’re not locking your smartphone, you’re just waiting for the inevitable.

twoStoring your Passwords

Storing your passwords, credit card numbers, social security numbers, bank account numbers; either in documents, folders, or your phone address book is a bad idea. Keeping your phone free of this type of information is the best way of protecting yourselves. Delete all personal and private information from your smartphones immediately.

threeAuto Save Passwords 

Saving your passwords is very convenient, unfortunately everything that’s convenient for you makes it ultra convenient for an identity thief giving them access to your personal financial information without putting up any fight at all. Solution: Do not save your passwords in any of your browsers or apps.

Bluetooth

Hands free devices are all the rage these days, especially the wireless bluetooth devices. But be aware that leaving your bluetooth connection on, opens you up to hackers gaining control of your smartphone and all of its’ stored data. Hacking a device via bluetooth does have some limitations, the hacker has to be within 30 feet of the device the entire time to maintain connectivity. Solution: If you’re not using your bluetooth, turn it off.

fiveSelling your Phone

Got a new phone, well, you’ll probably sell or donate your old one. But how many of us took the time to actually erase all of the data? All of the photos, videos, passwords, usernames, private emails, etc….  Do yourself a favor, if you’re going to sell your old device, make sure that all of your data has been completely removed from it.

If you think you may have been a victim of Identity Theft and need help in the restoration of your credit report, CreditFirm.net can help you get your life back.

Why Choose CreditFirm.net?

Assurance. Our Credit Repair process was developed by experienced attorneys.

Speed. Documents are typically processed and sent out for investigation within 5 days.

Support. Award winning customer service guarantees your satisfaction.

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