The recent news of the massive data breach at the credit agency Equifax has taken the nation by storm. Unprecedented in its scope, the data breach has impacted an estimated 143 million U.S. citizens. Though not every Equifax customer has had their data stolen, a considerable amount have.

 Here are some some steps to take right away in the wake of this unfortunate incident.

Find Out if You Were Affected

The theft so much data is highly concerning, because the information that was taken is highly sensitive and could be used for nefarious purposes such as identity theft and fraud.

Sensitive information on consumers effected include:

      -birth dates

      -Social Security Numbers

      -full names

      -driver’s license numbers

With this information, thieves can potentially open accounts and conduct business in someone else’s name.

To find out if you were affected by this massive hack, go to: 

There you will enter your last name and the last 6 digits of your Social Security number. Experian will notify you if you have been affected.


Freeze Your Credit

If you have been affected, what now? The first thing security and financial experts recommend is freezing your credit at Equifax as well as the other two credit agencies, Experian and Transunion. A credit freeze (also known as a credit lock or a security freeze) prevents anyone from accessing your credit for any purpose, including opening a new line of credit, without a PIN number.

According to Equifax, PIN numbers were not stolen during the hack, so if you already had a credit freeze, you should still be safe. You can notify the three credit agencies ahead of time to temporarily unfreeze your credit accounts should you need to access it or open a new line of credit. Contacts below:

      -Freeze Equifax

      -Freeze Experian

      -Freeze Transunion

Even if you are not listed as affected, it may be a good idea to freeze your credit as a precaution.


Avoid Scams

Unfortunately, in incidents like this, fraudsters and questionable services come out of the woodwork to pitch you their services. Using information gleaned from the hacks, fraudsters have multiple scams at their disposal, including:

Tax identity theft: Already a huge problem, scammers can falsely file taxes in your name and steal your tax return.

Phone scams: Impersonating an financial institution through a phone call, they can get even more information from you for the purposes of identity theft or fraud. They may even pose as a member of Equifax and be pretending to try and fix the problem.

Phishing scams: Again, using information gained from the hack, imposters can use email to pose as your bank, credit union or other financial institution and use the information to steal from you or impersonate your identity.


Want to Know More About Securely Conducting Your Business?

Keeping your financial information secure and compliant is in your best interest. PDM’s tax experts can help advise you on the best course of action. Contact us; with our years of technical experience, advanced training, and cutting edge technology, we are your financial partner.