The Federal Trade Commission recently announced that Equifax is required to pay a settlement of up to $700 million, including $425 million to the consumers it affected. Towpath CU wants to be sure our valued Members know their rights under this settlement. If your information is part of the breach, which affected 147 million people, you’re entitled to up to ten years of free credit monitoring or up to $125 compensation.
If your information was exposed, keep reading for instructions on how to claim your piece of the settlement, how to monitor your credit report for fraudulent activity, as well as what to do if you think if you’ve been a victim of identity theft.
Were You Affected?
Visit FTC.gov/Equifax to learn more, file a claim, or check to see if your information has been compromised.
Use caution when accessing websites claiming to be official pages for the Equifax Breach, as there are already copycat websites posing as official pages in order to scam you. Do not click on links from third party websites - Only click on links from the official FTC website (FTC.gov).
File a Claim
You can file a claim for free credit report monitoring to help you proactively monitor your credit report for fraudulent activity. If you already have a credit monitoring service (such as one provided by your credit card company), you can file a claim for $125. Additionally, you can file a claim for any expenses paid or time spent trying to recover from the breach (with proper documentation).
Whether or not your information has been exposed in this particular data breach, it's important to be extra cautious when it comes to protecting your identity. Taking steps to monitor the activity on your credit report can help you identify fraud early to minimize any potential damage done.
Monitor Your Credit Report
You are entitled to one free credit report each year from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. (Visit AnnualCreditReport.com to request your reports.) Additionally, starting in 2020, Equifax will provide 6 free credit reports per year for 7 years (via the Equifax website).
Place a Fraud Alert
A fraud alert is a precaution you can take if you're worried about becoming a victim of identity theft. A fraud alert makes it more difficult for an identity thief to open an account in your name. It's free and stays on your report for one year. Contact one of the three credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion) to request a fraud alert. The bureau you contact is required to contact the other two about placing an alert.
Mastercard ID Theft ProtectionTM
Towpath Credit Union Mastercard holders are eligible for Mastercard ID Theft Protection™ (IDT) to help with Identity Theft resolution services. Through IDT, credit and debit cardholders have access to an online monitoring dashboard, monthly risk alert newsletters, and identity monitoring, as well as services ready to help resolve identity theft incidents and prevent further damage. Enroll in the program here.
If you're a victim of identity theft
If you believe you're a victim of identity theft, visit IdentityTheft.gov to submit a report and get a recovery plan.
Additional steps you could take:
- Place a one-year or extended seven-year fraud alert on your credit reports
- Call the companies where fraud occurred
- Close any new accounts opened in your name
- File a police report with your local police department
- Contact your credit union or bank to inform them