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The Equifax Data Breach May Impact You

With so many data breaches in recent years, we need to protect our existing accounts and protect against fraudulent accounts from being opened.


Ryn McCoy
The Equifax Data Breach May Impact You

By the City of Portland Crime Prevention Program

Lea esta nota en español.

Equifax, one of the nation’s three major credit reporting agencies, reported a data breach impacting millions of people. If you have or had credit cards or loans including a mortgage, you may be impacted by this breach. The information stolen includes names, social security numbers, birth dates, addresses and driver’s license numbers. With this information hackers can commit identity theft now and in the future. With so many data breaches in recent years, we need to protect our existing accounts and protect against fraudulent accounts from being opened.

Find out about this breach and what to do

Monitor your current accounts

  • Monitor transactions on your credit card, bank and other accounts as frequently as possible. Immediately dispute any questionable charges and replace potentially compromised cards.
  • If you check your accounts online, use passphrases for your passwords that are hard to guess with characters, numbers and punctuation. Use two-factor authentication on your online accounts where it is offered. This way if someone guesses your password, you have another safeguard to prevent someone from accessing your accounts.
  • If you receive statements by mail, follow up if they don’t arrive on time.
  • Set alerts on your accounts that send you an email or text message when there is a sizable purchase or withdrawal from your account.

Monitor credit reports to identify and respond to new account/loan fraud

In addition to regularly checking all your existing accounts, it is important to protect against any fraudulent loans, credit cards or accounts being opened in your name. Your credit history or report is maintained by three credit bureaus and tracks your borrowing and repayment activity with credit card companies, banks, mortgage companies and other lenders. Monitoring your credit report allows you to determine if there has been any fraudulent activity that you need to address. If your info has been compromised or you are concerned, you can place a 90-day temporary fraud alert on your credit reports for free.

Call one of the three credit bureaus listed below that will notify the other two or submit an online request:

You will have to provide personal information to set up the alert. This action notifies lenders or other companies to take extra precautions when opening new loans, credit cards and other accounts with your information. If your info has been used for identity theft, you can place a permanent alert on your credit reports. Visit identitytheft.gov for more information.

Order and review your credit reports from the three credit bureaus. You can obtain a free one from each bureau every year at www.annualcreditreport.com. Your credit report shows your history of closed and outstanding loans, mortgages, credit cards and other accounts associated with you. You can dispute any information that is incorrect or fraudulent with the related bureau. To order credit reports more than once per year, there are fees for these reports.

Sign up for credit monitoring service that provides information about activity on your credit reports. Do your research and use one that immediately notifies you if someone is opening a loan or account using your information. Many services charge a fee.

Freeze your credit reports to prevent fraudulent accounts from being opened

Freezing your credit report means that creditors won’t have access to your credit reports if someone tries to open a credit card account or loan using your information. This will make it unlikely that new accounts can be opened. If you open a new credit card account or take out a loan, you must, at a minimum, temporarily unfreeze your credit reports. This service is free until January 31, 2018. Please keep in mind that if you open a new account such as one with an internet service provider, their representatives may need to do a credit check requiring you to unfreeze your reports. Review your credit reports with the three CBs as mentioned previously to ensure that there are no fraudulent accounts opened in your name. Find out more about credit freezes at www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0497-credit-freeze-faqs.

Keep the pin numbers (passwords) associated with each credit freeze in a safe place. You will need them to unfreeze your credit reports.

Talk to friends and family about this breach and encourage them to take action!

For information about identity theft prevention, visit www.ftc.gov/idtheft.
If you have been the victim of identity theft, go to www.identitytheft.gov for assistance.


City of Portland’s Crime Prevention Program provides prevention advice, and organizes and trains Portland residents and businesses on crime issues.
For more information, call 503-823-4064 or email onicpa@portlandoregon.gov.

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