By now you’ve probably heard that Equifax Inc. recently announced a cybersecurity incident potentially impacting 143 million consumers in the United States. The information accessed primarily includes names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and in some cases driver’s license numbers.
Equifax has set up a site – equifaxsecurity2017.com – where you can check to see if your information may have been compromised. They are also offering complementary credit file monitoring and identity theft protection through TrustedID Premier; the services are available at no charge to all U.S. consumers for one year. No credit card information is required to sign up for the product and you will not be automatically enrolled or charged after the conclusion of the complimentary year.
The monitoring and protection through TrustedID Premier include:
- 3-Bureau credit monitoring of Equifax, Experian and TransUnion credit reports
- Copies of Equifax credit reports
- The ability to lock and unlock Equifax credit reports
- Identity theft insurance
- Internet scanning for Social Security numbers
The website provides additional information on steps consumers can take to protect their personal information. There is also a F.A.Q. page where you can learn more about the details of the incident and
If you’re concerned your personal information may have been exposed by the Equifax breach, you can take steps to freeze your credit. A credit freeze prevents creditors from accessing your credit report. It prevents credit, loans and services from being approved in your name without your consent. It does not affect your credit score.
Placing a freeze on your credit takes a little effort and can be inconvenient, as every time someone wants to access your credit report you’ll have to go through the process of lifting the freeze. And there are fees associated with placing and lifting your credit freeze. These fees vary from state to state and range from $5 to $10. Equifax has currently waived its fees for initiating a credit freeze.
It’s important to keep in mind that if you are in the process of getting a mortgage or plan to get a new credit card, boat or car loan in the near future, you should not freeze your credit.
If you’ve considered the pros and cons and still want to freeze your credit, call or go online to Equifax, Experian, TransUnion and Innovis to freeze your credit. Keep their contact info handy, including any PIN or Passcodes; you will need these to unfreeze your credit later.
Here are the numbers to call:
- Equifax – 1-800-349-9960 or equifax.com
- Experian – 1-888-397-3742 or experian.com
- TransUnion – 1-888-909-8872 or transunion.com
- Innovis – 1-800-540-2505 or innovis.com
Resource Financial Services exists to make people’s dreams of home ownership a reality. Our experienced mortgage specialists work hard to educate homebuyers about the wide variety of loan programs that can be tailored to meet their individual financial needs. Homebuyers can expect in-house decision making, upfront underwriting with same-day pre-approval, 5-Day Processing, and quicker closings.
Call toll-free at 877.797.4545 to speak with a mortgage banker or visit Resource Financial Services online at rfsmortgage.com to learn more.