Check your credit in wake of Equifax hack

PIERRE, S.D. (KEVN TV) – Attorney General Marty Jackley is asking consumers to be vigilant of
scams and consider their options in protecting their personal identifying information in the wake of the Equifax data breach.

The misconception is that if you have never done business with Equifax you do not have to do anything to protect your personal information. The fact is that Equifax is one of the three credit reporting agencies charged with maintaining credit history on consumers and businesses.

If you have had a loan, a credit card, a negative credit action taken against you…you will have a credit report with the credit reporting agencies, including Equifax.

FIRST STEP:
- Determine if you've been a victim of the data breach by going to
equifaxsecurity2017.com.
- Click on the potential impact button.
- You will be asked to input your last name and the last six (6) digits of your social security number. (This is sensitive information, so make sure you are on a secure computer anytime you enter this type of information)
- You will either be told that you are potentially a victim or that your information was not compromised. You will then be prompted to enroll for a year of free credit monitoring by Equifax. By clicking the enroll button you will be told when to come back to the site to enroll. You will be given this prompt whether your information was potentially compromised or not.
- Whether consumers choose to enroll in this program or not is a personal decision, however we do encourage enrollment in some form of credit monitoring.

SECOND STEP:
- Enroll in credit monitoring program, either that offered by Equifax, or another program of your choice.
- Consider placing a Credit Freeze on your files.
- A credit freeze makes it harder for someone to open a new account in your name. Keep in mind that a credit freeze will not prevent a thief from making charges to your existing accounts.
- Placing a credit freeze with all three (3) credit reporting agencies will normally cost you $10.00 per agency and will last seven (7) years. At this time Equifax is offering a free credit freeze as part of their credit
monitoring enrollment.
- If you decide to place these freezes on your file you need to remember to have the foresight to temporarily "unthaw" or unlock your file should you need to allow a lending institute to run a credit check on your file.
- Consider placing a FRAUD ALERT on your files if you decide against a credit freeze
- 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.

THIRD STEP
- Whether you are a victim of this breach or not, start checking your Credit Report on a four-month rotation basis.
- Whether you take advantage of any of the above methods you are still entitled to one free credit report annually from each one of the credit
reporting agencies - Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian.
- Checking your credit reports every 4 months is a habit that is no longer a privilege, but a necessity (www.annualcreditreport.com).

In addition to victims dealing with the fallout of the breach, scammers are now targeting vulnerable victims. “Equifax is not going to contact victims of this date breach via phone calls. If you receive a phone call or robo call claiming to be Equifax, hang up. The further attempt to obtain personal information or assist in free credit monitoring is not something Equifax is doing,” said Jackley.

If you have any questions regarding the Equifax data breach or your credit monitoring options call the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 1-800-300-1986 or email consumerhelp@state.sd.us.