California Attorney General Xavier Becerra issued a consumer alert Sept. 10 following an Equifax data breach that affected 143 million Americans and over 15 million Californians. Equifax is one of the nation’s three major credit-reporting agencies.
According to Equifax, the breach lasted from mid-May through July and compromised names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some instances, driver’s license numbers.
“Millions of Californians’ personal information has been compromised as a result of this massive data breach. Equifax’s response to date is unacceptable,” Becerra said. “My office has been and will continue to be in touch with Equifax until we get to the bottom of this massive data breach. We will do what’s necessary to hold Equifax accountable. In the meantime, I urge all consumers to heed this alert to protect themselves.”
Consumers who want to check whether they have been impacted by the Equifax data breach can visit equifaxsecurity2017.com/potential-impact. Those using Wi-Fi are advised to make sure they are using a secure Wi-Fi connection before submitting personal information.
Consumers are also encouraged to take the following steps to protect their personal information:
1. Put a fraud alert on your credit file.
A fraud alert helps protect you against the possibility of someone opening new credit accounts in your name. A fraud alert lasts 90 days and can be renewed.
To post a fraud alert on your credit file, you must contact one of the three major credit reporting agencies below. If you contact any one of the three major credit reporting agencies, fraud alerts will be automatically added by the other two agencies as well.
2. Review your credit reports. Look through each one carefully.
Check your credit reports from Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax– for free– by visiting annualcreditreport.com. Accounts or activity that you don’t recognize could indicate identity theft, especially accounts opened recently.
3. If you find items you don’t understand on your report, call the credit bureau at the number on the report.
Credit bureau staff will review your report with you. If the information can’t be explained, then you will need to call the creditors involved and report the crime to your local police or sheriff’s office. See the Identity Theft Victim Checklist at oag.ca.gov/idtheft/information-sheets.
Source: Becerra’s office