Data Breaches

How to Check If You're Affected by the Equifax Data Breach

Written for Symantec

Equifax now says its recent data breach potentially affected approximately 2.5 million additional U.S. consumers. That brings the total to 145.5 million. The updated figure follows a forensic investigation of the incident by an outside cybersecurity firm hired by Equifax to perform the review.

Equifax initially disclosed the data breach Sept. 7, 2017. The company says it discovered the data breach in July 2017.

An important question still likely on millions of people's minds: Was I affected by the Equifax data breach

The unauthorized access of Equifax data could increase the risk of identity theft for all those affected. That’s because the data included names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some cases, driver’s license numbers and credit card numbers—information identity thieves can use to take over or open new accounts, file fake tax returns, rent or buy properties, or do other criminal acts in your name.

So, were you affected?

To help answer consumer questions about the breach, Equifax has established a website—www.equifaxsecurity2017.com—and a call center, 866-447-7559. At the website, you can determine if your personal information was among the breached data—and also enroll in one free year of credit monitoring and other Equifax services. Here’s how:

  1. Visit the Equifax Cybersecurity Incident website.
  2. Read the information to understand the offering.
  3. Click “Begin Enrollment.”
  4. On the “Getting Started” page, enter your last name and the last six digits of your Social Security number. You also have to click a box to prove you’re not a robot.
  5. Based on your information, you’ll see a message telling you whether your personal information may have been affected in the data breach.
  6. Whether you’re affected or not, you’ll receive an enrollment date. If you want to take advantage of the free offer, available to all U.S. consumers, return to the site on the indicated date and continue the enrollment process. The enrollment period ends Nov. 21, 2017.

Equifax says that those who sign up for its free offer do not have to provide a credit card number, nor will they be re-enrolled or charged after the free year of service. The company also says that it has removed language from its Terms of Use that indicated those who enroll waive their rights to take legal action


What else can I do to help protect myself?

In the wake of this data breach, there are some steps you can take to help protect yourself—or let you know when identity thieves may have targeted you.

  • Check your credit reports to confirm that thieves haven’t opened credit card accounts or taken out loans in your name. You can access free credit reports at AnnualCreditReport.com. If you find activity that isn’t yours, here’s how to file a dispute with the credit agencies.
  • Monitor your credit card and bank accounts, keeping an eye out for unfamiliar transactions. If you spot something that doesn’t look right, contact that financial institution.
  • Consider putting a credit freeze or fraud alert on your credit reports. You’ll find more information in this article. But also note that there are many kinds of identity theft that do not require a credit check and, thus, may not be thwarted by credit freezes or fraud alerts.
  • Consider credit monitoring or identity theft protection to help protect you. You’ll find an overview of what each provides in this article.

Symantec Corporation, the world’s leading cyber security company, allows organizations, governments, and people to secure their most important data wherever it lives. More than 50 million people and families rely on Symantec’s Norton and LifeLock comprehensive digital safety platform to help protect their personal information, devices, home networks, and identities.

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