100,000 Canadians May Have Had Their Information Stolen
234 Million Americans affected is the estimate
Here is How to Regain Control of Your Info
As of this writing there is no way to know if you were affected by this data theft from Equifax.
You may know that Equifax is a credit check company. They are one of the places your bank will go to find out your credit score when you apply for any credit. Mortgage, car loan, credit card, etc.
Reports say this could be the largest theft of Social Security numbers in the US ever. 324 million Americans affected. Canadian information is sketchy.
“There are 26 million people who have credit scores in Canada,” financial literacy and credit score expert, Chantal Chapman said. “With the information that was taken, a person could fill out a mortgage application or buy a cellphone. It’s pretty scary.” -Global News
Assume You Are Affected is the Safest Route
The safest route? Assume you may be affected and take action to protect yourself. It is an awful thing to have to get your affairs in order after some criminal gets a mortgage in your name. Best to be proactive. Here is what you need to know…and do.
Assume Your Info Has Been Stolen. This means your SIN, credit card numbers, birthday and all other information has been stolen. Global News report that Equifax said it will send direct mail notices to consumers whose credit card numbers or dispute documents with personal identifying information were impacted. Don’t wait for that. The report does NOT say anything about SIN numbers.
Here Are Some Steps You Can Take: (from several experts on Global News)
(1) Monitor your Equifax credit score. You should watch your credit score as soon as possible and keep an eye on it to make sure nothing suspicious is happening. There are a number of free credit monitoring services out there, like Mogo. If you monitor your score monthly and then see your credit rating drop, it’s an indication something has happened.
(2) Watch your credit inquiry. Anytime someone checks credit it’s a hit on your credit score. There can be a soft hit (when you check your own credit) and then there’s a hard hit (applying for a credit card). You can order a credit inquiry through Equifax.
(3) Freeze your credit reports. You can freeze your Equifax account. This restricts access to your credit report, which helps prevent other credit card companies from accessing it to open up new accounts.
(4) If you know your SIN was stolen, file a police report. A social insurance number is the Holy Grail of identity theft, according to finance magazine, Kiplinger. You should file an identity theft police report and send a copy of it to Equifax.
(5) Check your bank and credit card statements. Keep a close eye on your credit statements for suspicious activity over the past several months. Report any suspicious charges and cancel your compromised card for a new one.
(6) Alert your bank(s) and strengthen your password. Let your bank, or any other company overseeing another financial account, know about the breach. You should also change your password with a two-factor authentication (password and confirmation via phone number)
Further, there is a class action lawsuit underway.
Hope for the best. Plan for the worst. We are hoping none of us are affected. Best to be proactive.
Alert your family and friends. This may take years to unfold. Be safe.
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