OMBUDSMAN’S ALERT: How Do You Protect Your Identity and Money After the Equifax Breach?

BY DR. LOUIS ALPERT
Ombudsman

This Ombudsman Alert has investigated some of the strategies available to consumers to best protect themselves from the unprecedented Equifax Breach, which involves the potential compromise of the personal data of 143 million consumers, including names, addresses, social security numbers, and birth dates.

According to Consumer Reports, “the first, best, and fastest way to protect yourself from the Equifax data breach is to place a security freeze on your credit files at the big three credit reporting bureaus.” Those bureaus are Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.

It’s best to start by first contacting Equifax at www.equifaxsecurity2017.com to find out if you’re one of the 143 million consumers affected by this breach.

If you were, you may first sign up for through Equifax to apply for the “Trusted ID Premiere,” which will cover all three credit bureaus to provide monitoring of your credit files free of charge for a period of one full year.

New York residents may call 1-800-349-9960 to create a “freeze” on your Equifax credit files, as strongly recommended by both Consumer Reports as well as Ombudsman’s Alert.

The following phone numbers are also provided to our readers to contact the other two major credit bureaus in order to find out how to initiate “freezes” on your credit files at Experian and TransUnion:

Experian: 1-877-284-7942

TransUnion: 1-800-916-8800

Our readers, who are among the 143 million affected by this breach, must have patience in carrying out their mission to protect themselves, since the phone lines to these bureaus are often busy and (as this Ombudsman found out for himself) promises made by Equifax to get back to the consumer within 72 hours with their confirmation of the “Trusted ID Premiere” certification may not always be kept within that time limit!

The Ombudsman’s Alert wishes all of our readers the best of luck in following up on this matter to secure the safety of their identities, credit files and other vital financial issues.

Please address all questions and concerns to editor@rocklandcountytimes.com.