If you’re one of the 80% of working Americans who had your personal data exposed over the summer, you’re likely filled with a number of questions and a great deal of concern.
This is a very serious matter that will require due diligence on your part. You’ll need to act quickly. But the good news is -- you’re not in this alone.
Regardless of whether you’re using our service, InfoArmor is here for you. And, we’re going to share the most important step you can take right now – Breathe! And keep in mind your identity wasn’t what was stolen in the Equifax breach. Your personal data was exposed. It is imperative that you take proactive steps to protect yourself from possible identity theft.
Before we launch into the steps you should begin taking, it’s important to understand what actually occurred.
On September 7th, 2017, Equifax – one of the nation’s largest credit bureaus – announced a major data breach. From May to July of this year, consumer data, including Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses, and in some cases, credit card information and driver’s license numbers, were stolen from 143 million Americans. This equates to around 80% of working Americans and some 56% of adults over the age of 18.
Keep in mind, even if you’ve never used Equifax as a credit monitoring service, you are at risk. Equifax collects data on all Americans, and the breach wasn’t isolated to users of the service. So, if you’re reading this post, there’s a high likelihood you were affected.
Data Breach vs. Identity Theft
We want to make a clear distinction between this data breach and actual identity theft. At this point, a significant amount of personal data has been exposed to hackers, making the chances for your identity to be stolen more likely.
It is imperative that you take steps to be proactive in monitoring your personal data along with any credit or financial information. Traditional credit monitoring services, including the one Equifax is offering to monitor your credit for one-year for free, aren't enough to stay ahead of the game to thwart or alert on many of the most popular and more sophisticated identity crimes, so you’ll need to take some additional steps.
So here’s what you need to do next:
If you use InfoArmor’s PrivacyArmor, it is One Simple Step:
#1 Login to Your PrivacyArmor Account
Once you’re inside your portal, a guided tour will walk you through the steps you should take next. And... done. That’s right, we’ll handle the rest from there. Don’t forget, your PrivacyArmor account comes with the following features standard:
- Comprehensive Identity Monitoring – Our proprietary monitoring platform identifies high-risk activity that typically goes undetected with traditional reports
- Fraud Remediation and Restoration -- If you do fall victim to identity theft, a dedicated PrivacyAdvocate® will guide and manage your full recovery process
- Identity Theft Insurance Policy -- If you do fall victim to identity theft, the $1,000,000 Identity Theft Insurance Policy included with the PrivacyArmor® benefit reimburses many of your out-of-pocket costs, like lost wages and legal fees
Four Steps to Take if You Aren’t Currently Using InfoArmor’s PrivacyArmor
If you are not currently using InfoArmor’s PrivacyArmor solutions, you’ll need to go through a manual process to make sure you’re protected. Here’s what we recommend:
#1 Check to See If You Were Part of the Breach
You can see if you were potentially impacted by the breach by filling in some personal data here: https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com. Equifax won’t tell you for certain, but if they do feel you were impacted, they will display the following message:
“Based on the information provided, we believe that your personal information may have been impacted by this incident.”
#2 Get a Copy of Your Credit Report Today
It’s critical you obtain a copy of your credit report today. Review the report in depth and make sure it is accurate. If you see any irregularities, you will need to report them immediately. Store this document in a secure location, so you can reference it in the future to identify any changes.
#3 Monitor and Protect Your Credit
Moving forward, you will need to monitor and protect your credit. Keep in mind, a credit monitoring service alone is simply not enough. Most credit monitoring services do nothing to protect users from the most popular and sophisticated identity crimes. You need to select a service that offers proactive monitoring capabilities and alerts you of high-risk transaction notifications and compromised credential alerting.
#4 Consider Filing a Fraud Alert or Freezing Your Credit
You should also consider filing a fraud alert or freezing your credit accounts entirely. If you’re looking for a short-term solution, filing a fraud alert might be right for you. It lasts up to 90 days and is completely free. Just keep in mind, extending the fraud alert can be challenging, especially if you don’t have a police report.
Freezing your credit is a more secure and long-lasting solution. For a minimal fee ($10/credit bureau), your credit accounts will be frozen. This will prevent anyone from opening an account in your name without having access to ALL of your information, as well as a 6-10-digit personal identification number. Be aware, if you’re going to apply for something in the future, you will need to thaw or temporarily lift a freeze. This, too, can cost up to $10.
Whether you use InfoArmor or not, please take the necessary steps to protect you and your loved ones. There is far too much at risk to sit on the sidelines thinking it won’t happen to you.