Tips on the Equifax security breach
UW-Green Bay’s Division of Information Technology forwards this information regarding the Equifax cybersecurity breach:
As you have likely heard in the news, the credit verification organization Equifax announced a large cybersecurity breach that impacts 143 million people. Equifax states the breach includes names, social security numbers, birth dates, addresses, and in some instances, driver’s license or credit card numbers.
Understandably, you may be concerned about whether your personal information has been released. While Equifax has said publicly it is contacting consumers that have been impacted by the breach, below are reminders about how to help protect you and your family.
Credit account protection:
Consider whether you want to put a credit alert or credit freeze on your accounts.
A fraud alert on your credit file states the consumer may be a potential identity theft victim. If you apply for a loan or credit, the lender must take extra steps to verify the applicant’s identity before issuing the line of credit or service. A fraud alert may slow down your ability to get new credit, but it should not stop you from using your existing credit cards or other accounts.
A credit freeze means no one can take out credit without authorization of the consumer. This will impact your ability to take out new credit, but no one else will be able to take out credit in your name either. Parents and legal guardians can place a security freeze on the credit of a child or other protected individual.
Learn more about placing a credit alert or freeze on your credit report on the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection website or the Federal Trade Commission Fraud Alert Website.
Avoid revealing personal or financial information in an email, and do not respond to email solicitations for this type of information.
After a breach like this, hackers will often prey on your fears and go “phishing.” They’ll pose like as legitimate business – even Equifax or your bank – and ask you to confirm private information. Don’t fall for those emails. When it doubt, delete it out.
- Do not click on links or open attachments if you cannot confirm the source.
- Tip: hover over the link to see if it is legitimate. Some email addresses or links look real, but you can tell they are not when you hover over them because they reveal a different address or link than is in the text of the message.
Monitor your credit
- Request a free copy of your credit report and review it for unusual activity.
- You are able to request a free copy of your credit report each year: call 877-322-8228 or go to annualcreditreport.com
- Important note: annualcreditreport.com is the only website authorized to fill orders for the free annual credit report. Other websites may claim they offer “free credit reports,” “free credit scores,” or “free credit monitoring,” but they are not part of the legally mandated free annual credit report program.
- Check bank and credit card statements on a regular basis for unusual or suspicious activity.
- Change passwords regularly.
- Passwords should use a mix of upper and lowercase letters and numbers and symbols.
- Avoid words or dates a hacker could possibly guess such a date of birth, “password,” or 1234.
- For the most protection, create a unique password for each financial account.
- Do not save your password on internet sites – retype them each time for enhanced security.
- Keep security software current on your home computers.
- Installing the latest updates on your web browser and operating system can help prevent cyber attacks.
For more information on how to protect you and your family against online and cyber security threats, visit: