Laker Cents: The Equifax Data Breach – Facts, Resources, and Next Steps


By now, you’ve probably heard that Equifax had a massive data breach that affected 143 million consumers. If I’ve already lost you, Equifax is a consumer credit reporting agency that collects and organizes credit information on over 800 million individuals and businesses worldwide. To simplify more – Equifax collects your credit history/information and makes it available to places like financial institutions and credit card companies.

In mid-May through July, Equifax confirmed that attackers entered their system through vulnerability in their website application. This unfortunately led the personal data of 143 million consumers to become vulnerable to security threats.

Check If You May Be Impacted : First, you’ll want to visit this website and enter some basic information to see if your information may have been or wasn’t affected. If you were flagged as potentially affected, you have a few different options.

Free Credit Monitoring: you can get this service through Equifax (as well as other credit bureaus) which monitors your credit history and alerts you of any suspicious or potentially fraudulent activity.

Consider Freezing Your Credit: A credit freeze, also called a security freeze, restricts access to your credit report, which makes it more difficult for identity thieves to open new accounts in your name, according to this article from the Federal Trade Commission. Freezing your credit does NOT affect your credit score, and there is usually a small $5-10 fee. The freeze can be lifted upon request or after it expires, which can range in a number of years based on your state of residency.

Why You Need to Care: Your credit score is an imperative factor that affects your ability to get loans, credit cards, open certain accounts, and more. Those who foresee a need for future financing (especially millennials at the forefront of their personal and professional lives) need to be cognizant of their credit score. Negative marks and fraudulent activity from identity theft can leave a lasting imprint on your credit score that can follow you around for terms longer than one year.

Be Aware of Your Credit Accounts: Did you know that by federal law, you are entitled to obtain a free copy of your credit report every 12 months from each credit reporting company at  Take advantage of this information. Make sure all your information is correct. Ensure there are no inquiries from companies that you’ve never contracted. Make sure that amounts that show up on your credit reports reflect amounts that you are familiar with.

Overall: stay protected, stay cognizant, and do your best to keep your personal information safe.

Comments are closed.