facebook twitter instagram linkedin google youtube vimeo tumblr yelp rss email podcast phone blog search brokercheck brokercheck Play Pause
What You Should Do About the Equifax Breach Thumbnail

What You Should Do About the Equifax Breach

It sounds like the ultimate heist from a movie, but unfortunately, the Equifax breach that exposed personal data on nearly 44% of the American population is very real.

Security breaches occur every year, but this doesn’t mean you should just get used to them. While you may not be able to prevent a security breach, you can minimize and reverse any potential damage when you know how to respond. It is especially important for the Equifax breach due to the risk of identity theft.

Here's What Happened in the Equifax Breach

  • The breach lasted from mid-May through July, and affects 143 million Americans.
  • Hackers accessed people’s names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some instances, driver’s license numbers. They also stole credit card numbers for about 209,000 people and dispute documents (the documents generated when you dispute incorrect information on your credit report) for about 182,000 people.
  • Equifax is offering free credit monitoring for 1 year to those who may be affected.
  • Equifax faces more than 20 class-action lawsuits.

Here's What You Need to Do About the Equifax Breach:

  • Find out if your information was exposed in the Equifax breach at www.equifaxsecurity2017.com. Use a secure computer with an encrypted internet connection (ie. not a public computer, and not a laptop on an unsecured wifi connection at an airport or coffee shop).
  • Watch your mailbox. If your credit card information or dispute records were compromised, Equifax plans to reach out. They will never ask for personal information via email.
  • If the Equifax website says you may be affected: check your credit reports at annualcreditreport.com (you can do this once per year for free). Read through the reports looking for any accounts or activity that seems unfamiliar.
  • If the Equifax website says you may be affected: Place a credit freeze on your files at all 4 credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax, Innovis and TransUnion. This is a preventative measure so no one can pull your credit file—not even you! If you need to access your credit file for legitimate reasons, such as opening a credit card or filing for a loan, you may have to pay a small fee (ranges from free to $15) to unfreeze the file.
  • Whether or not you have been affected by the Equifax breach: sign up for credit monitoring. Equifax is offering one free year of credit monitoring through its company TrustedID Premier, but there are also other services available from providers like LifeLock. Credit monitoring will not protect you from criminals opening fraudulent accounts, but it will alert you to any activity on your credit report. The credit monitoring company will also help you to scrub fraudulent information from your credit reports.

The unfortunate reality is that once your personal information is out there, it’s out there. The best you can do is be vigilant and try to block future attacks on your credit score and identity. In the 21st century, monitoring your credit activity and guarding your private information is akin to previous generations guarding valuables in a safe deposit box  at the bank.

The steps above will help you for this particular security breach, but we have also prepared an overview of steps to take in any future attacks.

Learn the 3 Steps to Take After a Security Breach


Please remember that past performance may not be indicative of future results. Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that the future performance of any specific investment, investment strategy, or product (including the investments and/or investment strategies recommended or undertaken by Halpern Financial, Inc.), or any non-investment related content, made reference to directly or indirectly in this blog will be profitable, equal any corresponding indicated historical performance level(s), be suitable for your portfolio or individual situation, or prove successful. Due to various factors, including changing market conditions and/or applicable laws, the content may no longer be reflective of current opinions or positions. Moreover, you should not assume that any discussion or information contained in this blog serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from Halpern Financial, Inc. To the extent that a reader has any questions regarding the applicability of any specific issue discussed above to his/her individual situation, he/she is encouraged to consult with the professional advisor of his/her choosing. Halpern Financial, Inc. is neither a law firm nor a certified public accounting firm and no portion of the blog content should be construed as legal or accounting advice. A copy of the Halpern Financial, Inc.’s current written disclosure statement discussing our advisory services and fees is available for review upon request.