Could Changing Your Social Security Number Protect You From Equifax-Related Fraud?

Casey Dawson
September 17, 2017

That is how many US consumers Equifax says could potentially be impacted by a data breach that occurred in mid-May and lasted until July 29 when the company discovered it. An attack on Equifax exposed information like social security numbers of almost 143 million Americans.

The Federal Trade Commission, the division of the government set up to protect consumers, is investigating the massive data breach at Equifax.

If you are trying to apply for an apartment or loan, Hutchinson said you can still do so with the freeze. The site will tell you if you've been affected by this breach.

The FTC has suggested that consumers concerned about protecting themselves in the wake of the breach check credit reports for accounts or activity that they don't recognize - a sign on identity theft.

First things first, head to the Equifax Security 2017 page to make sure you're a victim. A security freeze (also known as a "credit freeze") locks your credit file so that no one can see your credit report or credit score unless you lift the freeze.

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The Batmobile - I wanted to be a Lincoln Continental with two bus engines in it". "Now I'm like...[shocked face]"'. "You don't even know, really, how to talk about it", says Pfeiffer, as if throwing up her hands.

The Equifax data breach has left almost half the us population's personal information at risk.

Erdman urged people to monitor their accounts closely and frequently, match credit card statements with receipts and balance their checkbook monthly. That prohibits a credit reporting agency from releasing any information from your credit report without written authorization and makes it harder for an identity thief to access credit in your name. Whether or not your information was stolen, Equifax is also offering consumers one year of free credit monitoring services. Initially the company's credit monitoring did have a cost. Go to www.annualcreditreport.com to obtain free copies of your credit reports from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. If you are a victim of identity theft, Minnesota law allows you to place a credit freeze for free.

The Equifax breach could have a ripple effect for years to come, with scams already in the making, so security experts said the best time to let your guard down is never.

The credit company may offer the option to lock your account instead of freezing it. Locking is comparable but not the same, which means you need to freeze it.

Credit bureau staff will review your report with you. But if you are really anxious about your credit being misused, this works.

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