The recent Equifax data breach has been called the worst personal data breach in history. Over 143 million people have been affected. Experts are saying that is it safer to assume you were affected and take preventative measures immediately.
Data Breach Timeline
- Mid May – July 2017: The data breach occurred mid summer 2017. Information exposed includes social security numbers, birth dates, addresses.
- July 29, 2017: Data breach is discovered by Equifax.
- August 1, 2017: Three top Equifax executives sell their stock. Equifax asserts executives were unaware of data breach.
- September 2017: Data breach announced to public. Equifax sets up website to assist affected customers.
- September 8, 2017: Class Action filed against Equifax
Security Steps to Consider: Fraud and Freeze Alerts
If you believe you may have been affected by the Equifax data breach, set up a fraud and freeze alert. This is a 90 day alert that ensures (hopefully) that anytime someone tries to use your information, the credit reporting agencies are notified. You do this by contacting one of the three main credit watchdog agencies (Transunion (800-680-7289), Experian 888-397-3742 and Equifax (888-766-008). This is a free service.
A freeze alert ensures that no new accounts are opened in your name. Once this is requested, the credit reporting agencies will send you a letter with a PIN. You will need to use the PIN when you want to open a new account. There is a small fee associated with this service.
Monitor your accounts for unusual activity. Regularly check your accounts and stay on top of things. Sometime the simplest and most common sense approach is the best.
Unfortunately the take away here is that data breaches are now a common occurrence and we all need to be aware and take steps to reduce our exposure and response time. Consider two-step authentication for all of your accounts and never use the same password across your accounts are great starts. Douglas Leavitt is an attorney with Danziger Shapiro & Leavitt and focuses his practice on guiding business with their daily operational needs. Please feel free to contact him or any of the other attorneys at Danziger Shapiro & Leavitt to discuss how this new change will affect your business or any other issue you may have that concerns you and your business.
This entry is presented for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.