First of all, here is a little background on the credit industry.

There are 3 national credit bureaus in the United States: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. Basically, they are information warehouses. These organizations gather information about consumers and sell that information to lenders and others who want to know about their borrowing behavior.

Credit bureaus do not decide whether or not your loan will be approved. They only provide data i.e. credit scores and credit reports, that the lender (banks, mortgage companies, credit cards, etc.) uses to make their decision to lend money and at what interest rate to charge.

EQUIFAX, Inc. – a major credit bureau, announced on September 9, 2017, that a cyber security incident, discovered in July, may have exposed names, birth dates, Social Security numbers and addresses of approximately 143 million U.S. consumers. In addition, a smaller amount of driver’s license numbers, credit card numbers and certain dispute documents were obtained.

I have seen and heard information that anyone who is impacted by the breach should put a credit freeze on their accounts with the 3 credit bureaus. IDShield, whom I represent, is telling their members to think twice about that action. The Kroll Investigators are recommending that anyone who is affected put a Fraud Alert on their accounts.

You have the right by federal law to place fraud alerts with the 3 national reporting agencies. This will place a statement on your credit reports to alert credit issuers that you may be vulnerable to identity theft and that they should take reasonable steps to verify that the person applying for credit is actually you.

Place an alert with all three bureaus by calling just one:

EQUIFAX: 888-766-0008    Experian: 888-397-3742      TransUnion: 800-680-7289

To find out if you are affected, go to the following web site:

        https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/am-i-impacted/

Once there, click on “Am I Impacted?” and fill in the information.

For information about Equifax executives selling their stock 8 days before the breach announcement go to: https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2017/09/18/feds-reportedly-investigate-equifax-executives-stock-sales/677003001/.