On September 7, one of three major credit bureaus Equifax reported hackers got access to credit data of 145.5 million U.S. residents. But this was six weeks after the hack. This morning the WSJ reports how states will continue to push Equifax on why it took them six weeks to disclose it.
It’s good that states are pushing for answers, but it doesn’t change the fact that cybercriminals stole our names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses, and drivers licenses numbers—plus CNN reports credit card numbers for 209,000 people were exposed, as was “personal identifying information” on roughly 182,000 customers involved in credit report disputes.
This means that, going forward, scammers can and do obtain this data to perpetrate small-scale scams person to person, so this isn’t over—it’s just beginning.
The best way to avoid scams is to ignore and/or hang up on any inbound calls you receive asking for any personal information about you. For example if someone calls from AT&T asking for the last 4 digits of your social security number due to a security breach, hang up, and call AT&T directly to validate the request.
And the safest way to prevent identity theft is to freeze your credit. On my company’s blog, we’ve done a couple posts with our Chief Information Security Officer on how to do this, and how else you can protect yourself. Take a moment read these posts and think about freezing your credit.
– Basics On Protecting Yourself: How To Freeze Your Credit