Equifax

What to do about the Equifax Data Breach

1.Freeze your credit report

Why?

A credit freeze seals your credit reports and provides a personal identification number (PIN) that only you know and can use to temporarily “thaw” your credit when legitimate applications for credit and services need to be processed. So thieves won’t be able to actually do anything with your data. Everyone should do this. Note that once frozen, you have to un-freeze it yourself.

How? 

Transunion:

    • Online:  Visit the Credit Freeze page here
    • By phone: 1-888-909-8872
    • By mail: Request your credit freeze by certified mail using this sample letter. Please note the attachments you must include.
      • Use the following address:
        • TransUnion LLC
          P.O. Box 2000
          Chester, PA 19016

Equifax

    • Online:  Visit this page to freeze your credit with Equifax.
      Important note: With such high traffic to the website, if you can’t get your request processed, just wait about a week and try again.
    • By phone: 1-800-685-1111  (NY residents please call 1-800-349-9960 )
    • By mail: Request your credit freeze by certified mail using this sample letterPlease note the attachments you must include.
      • Use the following address:
        • Equifax Security Freeze
          P.O. Box 105788
          Atlanta, GA 30348

Experian

    • Online:  Visit the Credit Freeze page here
    • By phone: 1-888-EXPERIAN (1-888-397-3742 ). When calling, press 2 and then follow prompts for security freeze.
    • By mail: Request your credit freeze by certified mail using this sample letter. Please note the attachments you must include.
      • Use the following address:
        • Experian Security Freeze
          P.O. Box 9554
          Allen, TX 75013

2.Beware of scams

Due to the magnitude of the breach, you may be contacted for “offers of assistance” by criminals who want to take advantage of the fear and uncertainty caused by this problem. That’s why freezing your account is important – if you freeze the account, you have done the most important thing you can to stop any credit from being opened by a creditor who first needs to check your credit report before offering credit, and almost all do.

Ignore these offers.Consider them all scams unless you specifically requested it.  And don’t click links or open unknown attachments.

3.Monitor your credit report monthly.

Make it a part of your routine. Go to creditkarma.com to sign up for a free account and you’ll get access to free credit monitoring. If they notice any suspicious activity, you’ll get an alert. Credit Karma also provides you a credit score, but don’t believe it. It’s a Vantage Score, not a true FICO, so do not rely on this score to make credit purchasing decisions I cover this topic in my Credit Recovery Course in detail, but for our purposes here it’s enough to know that its reportedly 50 – 150 points HIGHER than your FICO so don’t rely on this “fako” score to make important credit decisions. The report is good, however and you need to review yours monthly.

Sample letter to credit bureaus to freeze your credit report:

I would like to place a security freeze on my credit report.

_________ _________  __________________  ________

First name           Middle             Last name          Suffix (Jr.III)

Previous name or maiden name (if applicable):

_____________________________________________________________

Current address: (include zip code)

_____________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

Former address (for those who have moved in last 5 years):

1)

2)

Date of Birth_____________________________(xx-xx-xxxx)

SS#____________________________________

Drivers’ License State and Number__________________

One piece of ID is included which verifies my address:

(copy of driver’s license, government issued ID, water bill, electric bill)

Method of payment*

Personal check enclosed___________ Money Order enclosed_________

Credit card #______________________Type of card: (Visa, Mastercard, Discover)

Name on card_____________________________________________________

Expiration date_____________________

Card ID (three-digit security number on back of card)_________

*IF CLAIMING ID THEFT AND FREE FREEZE, INCLUDE INFORMATION

INCLUDING ID THEFT AFFIDAVIT, POLICE REPORT, DMV REPORT)

MY SIGNATURE:

________________________________________Today’s date__________

Remember to send this by certified mail.  Keep copies.