“Our goal is to earn your trust everyday with our 100% commitment to safeguarding our customer information. By implementing comprehensive controls and following the toughest security standards, we strive to not just meet, but to exceed the toughest industry requirements for information security.”

 – EZShield Vice President of Technology

Equifax Breach Details | Proactive Security Measures | Consumer Concern


Equifax One Year Later

It’s been a year since the data breach at Equifax that affected 145.5 million U.S. consumers. Here’s a quick review of the information exposed and other detailed surrounding the breach. 

 

Equifax 2017 Breach Details

  • In September 2017, Equifax confirmed a data breach event that affected 145.5 million U.S. consumers. 
  • Names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and driver’s license numbers were exposed. Additionally, some credit card information and other sensitive documents were impacted.

Proactive Security Measures

Your EZShield services, along with these additional proactive security tips, continue to help you secure, monitor and restore your identity even a year after the Equifax breach. 

How can EZShield help secure my information after this breach?

EZShield’s identity protection programs offer a variety of products and services to help secure, monitor and restore your information. Fraudsters will often wait to misuse breached data, or dump it on the Dark Web, to avoid being caught by authorities. 

  • Secure – You can use your Online Identity Vault™ and Password Manager to keep sensitive information and online passwords secure behind a triple-layer defense system. Take advantage of the educational resources provided to you through Identity Report and Breach Alert emails, as well as information published on Fighting Identity Crimes.
  • Monitor – For EZShield customers with monitoring tools, be sure the information in your Online Identity Vault™ is up-to-date to get the most out of your monitoring services. Alerts will let you know if your information is ever misused so you can spot fraudulent activity faster.
  • Restore – EZShield’s Resolution Center is ready to answer any questions or concerns you may have – even a year after the initial breach. If you notice possible signs of an identity crime, connect with a certified Resolution Specialist who will be there for you every step of the way.

 

What else can I do to secure my information?

Here are some helpful tips that can further improve your overall security:

  • Keep an eye on your financial statements. Check bank statements regularly for any signs of suspicious activity.

  • Request your credit files from the three major credit bureaus to get the most accurate representation of your credit history. You are allotted one free credit report from each of the bureaus every 12 months. You can do this by visiting annualcreditreport.com.

  • Never open emails, answer calls or respond to mail that appears to be related to the breach. Fraudsters can sometimes use breached information to target their victims for more sensitive data.

  • Consider placing a fraud alert or credit freeze on your credit files.

 

Fraud Alerts vs. Credit Freezes vs. Credit Locks

Many reports surrounding the Equifax breach advised consumers to consider placing fraud alerts or credit freezes on their credit files. Here are some key differences to consider when choosing between these three credit protection tools.

 

Fraud Alerts

A fraud alert lets creditors know that you could be a victim of fraudulent activity. A few facts about fraud alerts:

  • These alerts will let others know to take extra precautions when verifying your identity or reviewing your credit information.
  • They are free and can be placed or lifted online.
  • Effective Sept. 21, 2018, fraud alerts will be placed in one-year intervals, up from the previous 90-day timeframe. 

 

Credit Freezes

A credit freeze, also called a “security freeze,” is a more secure credit protection tool. A few facts about credit freezes:

  • Credit freezes completely restrict access to your credit files without your prior approval.
  • They must be placed at each credit bureau (TransUnion, Experian and Equifax).
  • Effective Sept. 21, 2018, credit freezes will be free to all U.S. citizens.

 

Credit Locks

A credit lock is a convenient way to lock your credit files. A few facts about credit locks:

  • Credit locks are offered by TransUnion, Experian and Equifax. TransUnion and Equifax offer these services for free, whereas Experian bundles them with other paid monitoring tools.
  • Credit locks can be placed and lifted conveniently through an app.
  • Credit locks are not mandated by federal law. 

Consumer Concern

Events like the Equifax data breach can remind us how important it is to protect our sensitive information from exposure. But what exactly does that mean, and why am I expected to trust these companies with my information in the future? 

If my information was “breached” or “exposed,” does that mean that my identity has been stolen?

When your information is “breached,” it simply means that your information was exposed, or accessed without your permission.

However, the concern comes with what happens to that information after it’s been exposed. One year later, the data exposed in the Equifax data breach is still vulnerable to fraud, identity theft and a number of other identity crimes.  

Even more concerning, the Equifax data breach exposed names, birth dates and Social Security numbers among other sensitive data points. Fraudsters can use this information – paired with public data from online databases and social media networks – to access your existing accounts and create new accounts, open new lines of credit and apply for loans in your name. 

 

If Equifax was breached, couldn’t EZShield be breached too?

EZShield’s security and compliance continues to exceed industry standards. A note from Darrell Laffoon, EZShield VP of Technology: 

“Our goal is to earn your trust everyday with our 100% commitment to safeguarding our customer information. By implementing comprehensive controls and following the toughest security standards, we strive to not just meet, but to exceed the toughest industry requirements for information security.”

 

Why should I trust anybody with my information?

The Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) has reported over 27 million sensitive records exposed so far in 2018. While we, as individuals, cannot control when and how data breaches happen, we can proactively protect our sensitive information – a combination of proper education and awareness and comprehensive identity protection tools – to minimize the impact of data breach events to our identities in the future.