September 12, 2017
Equifax Security Incident Exposes Personal Information for Millions of U.S. Consumers
Equifax, one of three major U.S. credit reporting agencies, recently announced a security incident that may have exposed some personal information for up to 143 million Americans. While Equifax has established a Web site to help consumers, many consumer advocates have questioned the terms and conditions imposed by accepting the credit reporting agency’s free TrustID Premier identity protection and credit file monitoring product.
Due to ongoing changes in Equifax’s offer and additional information becoming available each day, we would like to encourage you to follow national news outlets to stay informed before accepting Equifax’s offer.
To assist you with protecting your data, we have some tips below with best practices and links to additional resources.
- Stay on top of your credit history by requesting your free credit report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies annually. Consider staggering the three credit agencies every 4 months to allow you to get a copy more frequently. You can obtain your free annual credit report one of three ways:
- By phone: Call (877) 322-8228. You should generally receive a credit report ordered by phone in 15 days.
- Online: Visit annualcreditreport.com. You should be able to access a credit report ordered online immediately.
- By mail: Write to Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281. Your report should generally be mailed to you within 15 days after your request is received.
- If you are a union member of Education Minnesota, contact them regarding their free identity theft recovery plan. This free service is only for members of Education Minnesota.
- UECU members can consider getting a protection plan from ID Shield which includes expert consultation, continuous credit, privacy and security monitoring, quarterly access to your credit score, full restoration, and more. Register today!
- Consider placing a Fraud Alert or Security Freeze on your credit reports. This should be done with all three credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion). However, a Fraud Alert need only be placed with one of the three.
- Fraud Alert: A fraud alert is a notification you may request that a nationwide consumer reporting agency place on your credit report that warns creditors that you may be a victim of identity theft. Think of a fraud alert as a “red flag” for those third parties that may consider extending you credit. Fraud alerts are free, and will still allow third parties access to your credit reports – however, if there is a fraud alert on your credit report, third parties will be encouraged to take certain steps to verify your identity before extending you credit. Once you place a fraud alert with one nationwide consumer reporting agency, it will be automatically placed with the other two nationwide consumer reporting agencies.
- Security Freeze: A security freeze prevents new creditors from accessing your credit report unless you lift or remove the freeze, either temporarily or permanently. The nationwide consumer reporting agencies may charge consumers for placing or removing freezes depending on state law. You will need to contact each nationwide consumer reporting agency to place or remove a security freeze.
NOTE: All three credit reporting agencies offer credit monitoring services. These services typically come with a fee, so please be diligent in reviewing the terms and conditions prior to signing up for any services.
- Federal Trade Commission’s Web site
- ID Theft Protection Tips from UECU
- MN Attorney General Office Money & Credit page includes publications on ways to protect yourself from scams and tips for better money management.
- Equifax Cybersecurity Incident Web site for the latest consumer information and impact from Equifax*
*We encourage you to carefully review the terms and conditions prior to accepting their offer.