If you are a victim of the huge Equifax hack there are some things you can do, but it’s not going to be an easy way forward. If a credit card is stolen, you report it to the credit card company who then takes care of the problems, you’re issued a new card, and most times, you are not responsible for the charges.
But with a credit bureau hacking such as this one, names, Social Security numbers, home addresses and other stolen information can be used by an imposter to open new credit in your name, and even steal your Social Security checks and tax refunds.
If your credit card information was stolen, Equifax will notify you by mail; however, the credit bureau will not notify you directly if you’re one of the 143-million people who had more sensitive information stolen. In this case, you must go online to EquifaxSecurity2017.com to find out.
Here are a few things you can do if you were victimized by this hacking:
- File a theft report with IdentityTheft.gov. This does not mean that the government will investigate your case, but it will provide you with a recovery plan.
- Put a fraud alert and freeze on your credit reports. You can request the three credit rating agencies to freeze your credit.
- Request, in writing, to close all fraudulent accounts. Contact the Fraud Department of every new card that was created in your name. Do not call customer service. In some cases you will need to file a police report.
- Dispute fraudulent information on your credit report. The Federal Trade Commission provides a sample letter you may use when filing a dispute.
- Check that your driver’s license number was not also stolen; Equifax admits that this has happened in some cases. You may request the Department of Motor Vehicles to place a flag on your driver’s license number.
If you have legal questions, please consult our Online Legal Directory to find an attorney in your area.