MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - I've decided to post this Equifax breach checklist word-for-word from the Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance because 1. it confirms everything I've ever shared with you about what you should do in the wake of the breach, and 2. it is the most thorough and definitive checklist for protecting consumers I've seen to date:
The TDCI Division of Consumer Affairs shares the following 'Do's' and 'Don'ts' to help Tennesseans in wake of the Equifax data breach:
- DO find out if your information was exposed. Visit Equifax’s official website, www.equifaxsecurity2017.com, 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 using the legitimate web address. When typing it in to your browser, make sure no letters or numbers are missed.
- You’re on a secure computer and an encrypted network connection any time you enter it.
- DO consider signing up for the free credit monitoring being offered. Whether or not your information was exposed, U.S. consumers can get a year of free credit monitoring and other services. The Equifax website 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 November 21, 2017 to enroll.
- DO 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.
- DO consider placing a credit freeze or fraud alert on your files. A credit freeze makes it harder for someone to open a new account in your name. If you want a free credit freeze from Equifax you can call them at 800-349-9960 or visit them online at freeze.equifax.com before November 21, 2017. Keep in mind that a credit freeze won’t prevent a thief from making charges to your existing accounts. 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. To learn more about credit freezing and fraud alerts, click here.
- DO monitor your existing credit card and bank accounts closely for charges you don’t recognize.
- DO file your taxes early— as soon as you have the tax information you need, before a scammer can. Tax identity theft happens when someone uses your Social Security number to get a tax refund or a job. Respond right away to letters from the IRS.
- DON’T give your personal or financial information to an unsolicited caller. Scammers can spoof their numbers so it looks like they are calling from a particular company, even when they’re not. Don’t provide any personal or financial information unless you’ve initiated the call and it’s to a phone number you know is correct.
- DON’T click on links from sources you don’t trust. For enhanced safety, type the official website (www.equifaxsecurity2017.com) directly into your browser instead of clicking a link, even if the link was sent by a well-meaning friend.
- DON’T use information that may have been in your credit report as part of any online user name or password. Information like your birth date, current or past phone numbers, street addresses, etc. should be avoided.