Credit Card Dangers & the Equifax Hack

Credit card companies issuing new cards as a precaution. While your data was not stolen from your credit card company, your credit card company relies on Equifax to store and process your information.

By Brett Schultz

Discover, Chase, Citi, Barclaycard, Starwood, Ink Bold, and possibly a few others – all use Equifax to store and process your financial information.  As you may know, Equifax was hacked. If you are a customer to any of the mentioned organizations, you need to read this article and take action.  If you are not a member, you should still read this article and take action because your financial information may have been processed by Equifax.  Retailers use Equifax, and many others.

How do credit bureaus work, and why should I be concerned?

You may be wondering why your financial information is even out there with major organizations you don’t even do business with.  In simple terms, your financial information is necessary for lenders and banks to know about you and your financial reliability.  Your entire financial history, such as the number of loans, or lines of credit, you’ve held over the years and how you paid them off are important to know so that lenders and banks can gauge if you are a responsible consumer and are able to pay back a loan.  This helps provide lower interest rates to lenders and banks who feel your good credit score makes you less of a liability, meaning, you are more likely to pay off the loan and not cause any problems such as missing payments.

What you need to do:

Cybercriminals stole 143 million records, and directly compromised around 210,000 credit cards.  You may have been contacted by your financial institutions by email, mail, or saw a banner on their website stating you may be receiving a new card in the mail.  Just to play it safe, Equifax and other experts advise that you act.

First, head over to https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/ and click the ‘Potential Impact’ tab.  There, you will be able to complete a free search using your last name and last six digits of your social security number.  The site will say whether you were potentially impacted or not.  Don’t take either answer lightly.  If you have been, it is going to ask that enroll for free in the service I talk about below.

Second, sign up for Equifax’s TrustedID Premier Monitoring to see whether you’ve been affected by the Equifax hack.  This service is free but requires a little work to enroll.  All you must do is click ‘Begin Enrollment.’  You will need to enter your last name and last six digits of your social security number.  You will receive an enrollment date, and on that date, you can come back to the site and select ‘Continue Enrollment.’  You’ll need to re-enter your information to verify your identity, and then you will receive an email to log you into the TrustedID Premier service, free for one year.

Third, check with all your known financial institutions to see if there are any free identity theft services they offer, and use them.

If the Equifax Website Does Not Reload, Disable Your Antivirus

You may need to disable your antivirus software if the web page will not load once you enter your information and hit enter.  The site is checking to see if you are truly human to verify that you really did enter your information into the website, and so it pulls some files to make sure you are using the browser.  Your antivirus or browser guard may see this check as malicious activity.  It’s not, but just something to be aware of.  Always, when logging into websites and or sending your information, be sure that the website starts with https.  The s in https stands for security – meaning your data is encrypted between your computer and the server.  For example, when doing mobile banking, be sure that s is present.

The Equifax data breach may have compromised your data, so don’t wait to find out:  do the above-mentioned steps today.

If you enjoyed this article, have topic recommendations, need tech support, and have questions in general, be sure to email fsj@racc.edu and mention technology in the subject.