REGION – On Sept. 7, 2017, Equifax released a statement on July 29, 2017, that it had experienced a security breach. Over 240,000 Vermonters are potentially affected and could be vulnerable to identity theft. Information stolen includes names, social security numbers, birth dates, addresses and driver’s licenses. The FBI is launching an investigation into the perpetrators.
Equifax has established a website, https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/, to check your personal information. Note: the Vermont Attorney General warns that signing into the credit monitoring service through Equifax requires waiving your right to sue Equifax over the breach. It is advised to read the terms and conditions of the website carefully. Read the Terms and Conditions of that website closely. You can also contact the Attorney General’s office at 800-649-2424 or AGO.CAP@vermont.gov with further questions.
The Federal Trade Commission suggests these following steps to protect yourself generally from identity theft:
· Check your credit reports (free) from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion through annualcreditreport.com. Accounts or activity that you don’t recognize could indicate identity theft.
· Visit IdentityTheft.gov to find out what to do.
· Consider placing a credit freeze on your files. This makes it harder for a new account to be opened in your name. However, this won’t prevent a thief from accessing your existing accounts. Find out more at http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0497-credit-freeze-faqs.
· Consider placing a fraud alert on your files. This warns creditors that you may be an identity theft victim and that they should verify that anyone seeking credit in your name really is you. Do this through http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0497-credit-freeze-faqs#difference.
· Go to https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2017/09/equifax-data-breach-what-do for additional information.