In early September, Equifax, one of the three major credit reporting agencies, announced a data breach that has put the personal and financial information of over one million Iowans at risk. As a result, many Iowans are vulnerable to bad actors who may steal their identity. The breach has long-term implications requiring consumers to be aware of their personal credit report and to actively monitor their information.
Many Iowan consumers are unsure about what steps, if any, to take to protect themselves from the consequence of this breach. This page provides several resources.
[ Print-friendly fact sheet – Equifax Data Breach: Steps to Protect ]
1 – Find out if your information is at risk
- Call Equifax: 1-866-447-7559 OR visit the Equifax website
Read more > Equifax Data Breach
2 – Sign up for free credit monitoring **Deadline: January 31, 2018**
- Visit Equifax website
Read more > Credit Protection
3 – Prevent Identity theft
- Freeze your credit at three major credit bureaus (recommended step)
Contact each of the three companies for a credit freeze. A freeze costs $10 each, but is free from Equifax. DEADLINE for the FREE freeze from Equifax: January 31, 2018.
Equifax – 1-800-349-9960
Experian – 1-888-397-3742
TransUnion – 1-888-909-8872
- Sign up for a fraud alert at one credit bureau (suggested, less secure step)
Contact one of the three companies for a fraud alert; the company will contact other two.
Equifax – 1-888-766-0008
Experian – 1-888-397-3742
TransUnion – 1-800-680-7289
Read more >
4 – Further steps to protect yourself
- Get free credit reports from 3 credit bureaus at annualcreditreport.com or call 1-877-322-8228
- File taxes early to guard your Social Security number from tax ID theft. Best defense: obtain an Identity Protection PIN from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The IRS will contact you by mail if you’ve been a victim of tax ID theft.
- Report identity theft at IdentityTheft.gov, or call 1-877-438-4338
Read more > Protection Services
5 – Stay Informed and continue to check your personal/financial information
- Data Breaches and Lost or Stolen Information
- Equifax Data Breach
- Iowa Attorney General Consumer Alert
6 – Victim of ID Theft? Resources for Iowans
Iowa State University Extension and Outreach
- Webinar – UnSCAM Yourself…Responding to Data Breaches and Lost or Stolen Personal information
- Equifax Data Breach: Steps to Protect
- MoneyTip$ Blog
Federal Trade Commission
Iowa Attorney General
For more information, contact the Family Finance Specialist serving your area.