Equifax data breach may impact 143 million

September 8, 2017

Equifax, one of the three major consumer credit reporting agencies, has reported a data breach that could impact as many as 143 million Americans, jeopardizing consumer Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and some driver’s license numbers. While Equifax has set up a website in response to the breach, there have some concerns about the security of that site among experts including The Washington Post and Ars Technica.

The Duke IT Security Office offers the following recommendations:

First, check your credit report for fraudulent activity. You can get a free credit report from Annual Credit Report, a site sponsored by the three credit agencies: https://www.annualcreditreport.com/index.action.

Place a security freeze with all three agencies. North Carolina residents can set up and manage security freezes online, free of charge. This will stop access to your credit records, which prevents creditors from opening up new credit cards, loans, etc. in your name. Of course, this also prevents you from opening new accounts, but you have the ability to turn off (thaw) your credit freeze whenever you want to. For more information, here are the links to security freeze information for the agencies.

Finally, change your passwords, and use different ones for different sites. If you have online accounts that offer multi-factor authentication, and you haven’t take advantage of that extra security feature, consider setting that up.

Update: There is some concern among experts about consumers giving up the right to sue. More information is available on Ars Technica.