Nearly Half of All U.S. Consumers Affected by Equifax Breach At Much Higher Risk of Identity Theft

UPDATE 10/11/17: Credit bureau Equifax recently bumped its original data breach estimate total to 145.5 million people who had their personal information stolen. This is 2.5 million more than initially disclosed.

You may have heard the statistic that the breach impacts half of Americans, but of the people who have a credit report, it’s a much higher percentage, according to this Employee Benefit Adviser story, which pegs the number at close to 80% of working Americans” who “now may have their name, Social Security number and date of birth in the hands of fraudsters.”

ORIGINAL STORY, 09/11/17: Equifax, one of the three major U.S. credit bureaus, said a data breach has put 143 million U.S. consumers at risk of identity theft. The credit bureau is now pushing people to sign up for credit monitoring with Equifax’s own product, TrustedID Premier. The fact remains, monitoring doesn’t prevent identity theft, it only alerts you to a possible problem. And statistics show the risk of identity theft goes up exponentially — as much as 11 times more likely —  for someone whose information has been compromised.

TrustedID Premier does not provide identity restoration services if your identity is stolen. Essentially, they won’t do anything to actually fix any problem that pops up — they just tell you about them. It’s important to note many types of identity theft won’t even show up on your credit report, including tax identity theft, criminal identity theft, Social Security identity theft and, often times, medical identity theft.

LibertyID provides identity restoration.

That means if you’re a LibertyID member and your identity is stolen, we will fix it.

There’s no limit to the time or money we will spend restoring your identity to pre-event status. A certified restoration specialist will handle all of the legwork and keep you informed with regular status updates.

Back to the Equifax breach: The personal information compromised in the breach includes pretty much everything —  Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and even some driver’s license numbers. Additionally, credit card numbers for some 209,000 consumers and dispute documents for an additional 182,000 people were accessed.

It’s that latter group, and much smaller number of people, who will get letters in the mail letting them know they were affected, otherwise you have to use the website Equifax set up to see if you may have been impacted by the breach. As we pointed out in this article, don’t enter your info at Equifax’s credit monitoring site, which has major security flaws.

It’s that site that also lets consumers enroll in TrustedID Premier, the credit monitoring service operated by Equifax.

While Equifax claims you will receive a message indicating whether your personal information was impacted by the incident, we did not receive any such message when we attempted to use it. Rather a notice popped up stating an enrollment date for TrustedID of Sept. 12, 2017, advising us to return on or after that date to sign up, insinuating we have been affected but not actually confirming if that’s the case.

Enrolling in TrustedID only gets you the following:

  • Copies of your Equifax credit report
  • Credit monitoring of your Equifax, Experian and TransUnion credit reports
  • Internet scanning for your Social Security number
  • Limited identity theft insurance

TrustedID Premier, like many other identity monitoring services, will not restore your identity if it is stolen. The average identity theft victim spends 200+ hours trying to repair the damage.

We’ve compiled a timeline of events related to the Equifax Breach:

If You’re a LibertyID Member

If you’re a LibertyID member and your identity is stolen, you’ll have someone to call who will do the work for you. Our certified restoration specialists could save you hundreds of hours of work by placing fraud alerts, making all the necessary phone calls, filing the disputes and contacting government agencies, creditors, insurance companies and more.

Additionally, using a limited power of attorney, the specialist will:

  • Place fraud alerts at the three major credit bureaus for you.
  • Provide you with copies of credit reports from all three credit bureaus and review the reports with you to identify fraudulent activity.
  • Initiate single bureau credit monitoring, which will be in place throughout the recovery process and for a full 12 months after your case is resolved.
  • Assist you in completing the Identity Theft Affidavit from the Federal Trade Commission to establish your rights as a victim.
  • Contact the Social Security Administration, U.S. Postal Service, Internal Revenue Service, Department of Motor Vehicles, and other agencies as needed, to reverse any wrongful information, transactions, or misuse of official documentation as applicable to your case.
  • Submit disputes on your behalf to credit card companies, banks, lending institutions, utility companies, cell phone carriers and more.
  • Research and document any fraudulent transactions, false accounts, or contracts signed with creditors, banks, utility companies, leasing agents, medical facilities, etc., and follow up to make sure all erroneous information is removed from your credit file.
  • Create and maintain a law enforcement grade case file to assist local and federal law enforcement in the prosecution of the perpetrators.
  • Research public record databases to find and correct erroneous non-credit related information
  • In the event that you lose any of your Personally Identifiable Information (PII), a Restoration Specialist will be available to assist you in addressing and replacing the lost documentation, such as credit cards, licenses, passport, and/or government-issued documents.
  • Provide you with a complete copy of your credit report and score from one of the major credit reporting agencies, once per year. You can pull additional copies for an extra fee.
  • Monitor your credit for a full 12 months after your case is closed.


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