Equifax Breach Affects 143 Million Consumers: Are you impacted?

Alternative Options for Protecting Your Identity After the Equifax Breach

As part of our ongoing efforts to help keep your personal information as safe as possible, we want to remind you to stay on the lookout for the many security threats making the rounds in cyberspace today.

As you may be aware, Equifax has offered the public one free year of its identity theft protection service, TrustedID Premier, in the wake of the credit bureau’s massive data breach. Unfortunately, many users have been experiencing technical issues with the enrollment process.

If you’re looking for other ways to take action to protect your identity, you may want to consider these alternative options:

  • An initial or extended fraud alert: Placing this on your credit file can make it harder for identity thieves to open accounts in your name, requiring businesses to verify your identity before issuing credit. Fraud alerts are free.
  • A credit freeze: This prevents anyone from opening a new line of credit in your name. This is more proactive than a fraud alert but could restrict your access to your own credit. Placing or removing a freeze may involve you paying a fee, depending on your state.
  • Identity theft protection services: These services offer valuable tools to help protect your identity, such as real-time credit monitoring, customized account alerts, and 24/7 live support. A subscription fee is charged for these services.

Please note: Any of these options may be used in conjunction with one another.

For more guidance on identity theft, visit the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC’s) Identity Theft page. For updates from Equifax, go to equifaxsecurity2017.com.

Rest assured that we are always concerned about information security. If you have any questions, please call us at 617-581-6100.

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As part of our ongoing efforts to help keep your personal information as safe as possible, we want to remind you to stay on the lookout for the many security threats making the rounds in cyberspace today.
 
Recently, we learned about a massive Equifax breach in which more than 143 million consumers may have had their information compromised, including:

  • Social security numbers
  • Dates of birth
  • Addresses
  • Driver’s license numbers
  • Credit card information (for approximately 209,000 consumers)

Due to the high potential impact of this breach, we recommend taking the following steps:
 
1) Determine whether you may have been affected. Through Equifax’s self-service portal, you can quickly determine whether your information may have been compromised. Enter your last name and the last six digits of your social security number, and you’ll find out whether Equifax believes you’ve been affected. This process takes only a couple of minutes.
 
2) Enroll in Equifax’s credit monitoring and identity theft protection.Equifax is now offering one free year of TrustedID Premier, its credit monitoring and identity theft protection product, to all U.S. consumers, even if you aren’t a victim.
 
Once you enter your information in Equifax’s self-service portal, you’ll be given the option to enroll in TrustedID Premier. Click Enroll, and you’ll be provided with an enrollment date. Be sure to write down this date and return to the site on or after that date.
 
3) Be wary of e-mails that come from Equifax. Because of the high number of victims, Equifax is notifying only the 209,000 consumers whose credit card information may have been affected via postal mail. Do not trust e-mails that appear to come from Equifax regarding the breach. Attackers are likely to take advantage of the situation and craft sophisticated phishing e-mails.
 
4) Monitor your accounts for suspicious activity. Equifax’s free TrustedID Premier service can help you monitor your credit—but be sure to monitor your other important accounts for any suspicious activity.

How can you freeze your credit?
A security freeze, also called a credit freeze, locks your credit file at each bureau with a special PIN that is special to you. That PIN must be used in order for anyone to access your credit file, or add new credit in your name. It gives you complete control of your credit file. Unlike credit monitoring or fraud alerts, a security freeze stops an identity theft from happening, rather than alerting you to potential fraud after it has happened.

How to do it
To set up a security freeze you must contact all three of the credit bureaus individually. This process can be done online or over the phone. You will be asked some questions to confirm your identity. But it only takes a few minutes.
You can freeze your credit by using the following phone numbers and links:

Depending on your state, freezing your credit can cost anywhere from $0 to $10 at each bureau. Proven identity theft victims can have this fee waived. (If you need to lift the freeze you will have to pay the same fee.)
To lift the ‘freeze,’ you simply contact the bureau used by the lender and provide your PIN in order to lift the freeze for a certain period of time. This can be done online or over the phone. It may take a few days for the freeze to be lifted so be sure to do it a few days in advance.
This message is for information purposes only and does not represent a recommendation.

For more information, visit Equifax’s FAQs page regarding the incident.
 
Rest assured that we are always concerned about information security. If you have any questions, please contact us at 617-581-6100.
 
Sincerely,

Your Lightship Team