Was your personal information lost in the massive Equifax hack? Chances are, the answer to this question is sadly, yes. Equifax has not yet come clean regarding exactly all what information the hackers were able to obtain regarding 44% of the United States population (143 million of us), however, its is clear that drivers license numbers, social security numbers, previous addresses and credit information was included in the breach. This is the is the “golden crown” of what identity thieves need to open up new credit cards or loans in your name without your knowledge.
Paramount Law consumer lawyer Victor Wandres recently spoke to local Fox affiliate Fox 23 regarding the breach and the things you can do to try to protect yourself in the future:
Over 50 Equifax class action lawsuits have already been filed regarding the Equifax Hack! Most of these will probably be consolidated in a federal court in Georgia, the location of Equifax corporate headquarters. Think you’d make a good lead plaintiff? Call us.
The most important thing you can do now is to get familiar with your credit reports. Download them, save them. You can easily obtain your credit reports from the free website www.creditkarma.com to see your information from Equifax and Trans Union reports or you can use the FTC’s website, www.annualcreditreport.com, to obtain your credit reports directly from Equifax, Trans Union, and Experian. If you notice anything on your reports that you don’t recognize, contact a consumer attorney like Paramount Law for a free review. Our attorneys will help you determine if you have items on your credit report, including false information placed by debt collectors, that would entitle you to free legal help!
Credit reporting agencies must “freeze” your credit upon your written request. All this means is that you will be contacted by the credit reporting agency whenever you apply for new credit to verify your identity. Think of it as two-factor authentication — you apply for a new credit card at a retail store, and instead of the credit card company reviewing your credit report and issuing the card on the spot, you instead get a call or a text from the credit reporting agency notifying you that you must “unfreeze” your credit before going forward. Such a process is designed to deter thieves from opening up new credit in your name. However, it costs $10 each time you freeze or unfreeze your credit. Equifax announced that it will waive this fee temporally, but that doesn’t really help as the information exposed will allow your information to be accessed at the other two major credit reporting agencies, Trans Union and Experian. Therefore, you should request a security freeze, by certified mail, from all 3 credit reporting agencies.
The Equifax Hack will go down in history as one of the worst consumer information hacks. Be vigilant in protecting yourself. Call us for help!