Equifax Data BreachSubmitted by Marshall Financial Group on October 4th, 2017
September 12, 2017
Marshall Financial Group works diligently to grow and protect our clients’ financial assets. As part of our ongoing commitment to our clients, we feel it necessary to share the following information with you regarding the recent data breach at Equifax. Please note – Equifax is one of 3 major credit reporting agencies and is in no way related to Marshall Financial Group. This information is being shared as a part of our service to you.
On September 7, 2017, Equifax publicized that the company experienced a data breach. According to the company, the breach lasted from mid-May through July of 2017. The data breach exposed full names, Social Security Numbers, birth dates, addresses, and driver’s license numbers. For another 209,000 consumers, it also included credit card information.
The Equifax data breach puts consumers at risk for new account fraud, since it exposes personal information necessary to open new accounts at any point in the future. This information can be used to take out loans, open new credit accounts and other illegal and potentially damaging actions.
We encourage clients to take proactive steps to prevent any misuse of their information, while investigation into this data breach continues.
In a press release dated September 8, 2017 Maryland Attorney General, Brian Frosh recommended the following steps for consumers:
1. Check your credit report at annualcreditreport.com. Consumers are entitled to one credit report from each of the three reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) each year. We recommend downloading a report from a different agency every three to four months. For example, you could download a report from Experian today, TransUnion in January, and Equifax in May to monitor your credit year-round without charge.
2. Consider placing a CREDIT FREEZE on your accounts. A credit freeze makes it harder for someone to open a new account in your name. Keep in mind that credit freezes must be obtained from each of the credit reporting agencies and, for Maryland residents, cost $5 for each credit agency freeze or unfreeze. Other states have limited the maximum charge to between $5 -$10. A credit freeze won’t prevent a thief from making charges to your existing accounts, such as debit and credit cards. Parents or guardians of minor children may also place a credit freeze on behalf of their child. For more information on how to obtain a credit freeze, visit http://www.marylandattorneygeneral.gov/Pages/IdentityTheft/freezing.aspx.
Following public pressure, Equifax is now offering free credit freezes for the next 30 days. At this time, the other 2 agencies continue to charge $5 to implement a credit freeze.
3. Monitor your existing credit card and bank accounts closely for changes you do not recognize.
4. Visit https://www.identitytheft.gov/Info-Lost-or-Stolen to learn more.
Equifax has made a free credit monitoring service available to those affected. Note that enrollment into this free credit monitoring service originally could have limited future litigation options you might have had with regard to Equifax. Again, based upon consumer pressure, Equifax has agreed to 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.”
Regular updates from Equifax are being shared on their website www.equifaxsecurity2017.com.
As your financial advisors, we encourage you to be proactive in your response to this breach. If you have additional questions, please feel free to contact us.