5 million Illinoisans Hit By Equifax Breach — How To Know If You Were One of Them
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan said this week that 5.4 million Illinois consumers were affected by the Equifax data breach.
The hard truth is, if you have a credit report, there’s a good chance that you’re one of them.
In total, sensitive personal information was taken from 143 million American consumers whose data was mined from a cyber security breach at Equifax, one of the nation’s three major credit reporting agencies.
Here are the facts, according to Equifax. The breach lasted from mid-May through July. The hackers accessed people’s names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some instances, driver’s license numbers. They also stole credit card numbers for about 209,000 people and dispute documents with personal identifying information for about 182,000 people.
There are steps to take to help protect your information from being misused. Visit Equifax’s website, www.equifaxsecurity2017.com.
- Find out if your information was exposed. Click on the “Potential Impact” tab and enter your last name and the last six digits of your Social Security number. Your Social Security number is sensitive information, so make sure you’re on a secure computer and an encrypted network connection any time you enter it. The site will tell you if you’ve been affected by this breach.
- Whether or not your information was exposed, Kane County consumers can get a year of free credit monitoring and other services. The site will give you a date when you can come back to enroll. Write down the date and come back to the site and click “Enroll” on that date. You have until Nov. 21, 2017, to enroll.
- You also can access frequently asked questions at the site.
Here are some other steps to take to help protect yourself after a data breach:
- Check your credit reports from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — for free — by visiting 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. A credit freeze makes it harder for someone to open a new account in your name. Keep in mind that a credit freeze won’t prevent a thief from making charges to your existing accounts.
- Monitor your existing credit card and bank accounts closely for charges you don’t recognize.
- If you decide against a credit freeze, consider placing a fraud alert on your files. A fraud alert 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.
Visit Identitytheft.gov/databreach to learn more about protecting yourself after a data breach.
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office is encouraging residents to freeze their credit cards.
“The potential risks to Illinois consumers from Equifax’s massive data breach are serious,” Madigan said. “I urge every Illinois resident to take precautions such as placing a freeze on your credit to reduce any damage likely to occur as a result of Equifax’s massive data breach.”
People can contact the Illinois Attorney General’s Office Identity Theft Hotline at 1 (866) 999-5630 or review Identity Theft resources on its website. The hotline is staffed with identity theft experts who can help victims report the crime to local law enforcement and financial institutions, work to repair their credit and prevent future theft.
Hotline operators can also assist callers who want to take proactive steps to prevent their personal information from being stolen.
Police Crime Prevention Team Issues Identity Theft Alert
The Geneva Police Department’s Crime Prevention Team is offering several identity protection tips in the wake of a national credit reporting agency security breach earlier this month.
Here are steps people can take as a result of this hack:
- Visit Equifax’s website at www.equifaxsecurity2017.com to determine who has been impacted;
- Regardless who has been affected, people should check their credit to see if anyone has attempted to open an account using their personal information;
- Residents can contact the Geneva Police Department to file a report if they have become a victim of identity theft; and
- People should consider third-party services that offer identity theft protection (the Geneva Police Department cannot endorse any specific company.)
For more information about the Police Department’s crime prevention efforts, visit the city’s website or call 630-232-4736.
SOURCES: Federal Trade Commission, City of Geneva, Illinois Attorney General’s Office