CONSUMER ALERT: Equifax
September 13, 2017
LITTLE ROCK – 143 million. That is how many U.S. consumers Equifax says could potentially be impacted by a data breach that occurred in mid-May and lasted until July 29 when the company discovered it. Since Equifax announced the breach last week, the Attorney General’s office has received a number of calls from concerned Arkansans – and hopes more will do the same. Arkansans can visit ArkansasAG.gov to get the latest information about breach.
“The Attorney General’s office is here to do the fighting for you, and I urge Arkansans who have used Equifax to contact my office,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Taking on a leading role and working with other states, I have already begun to conduct a thorough review of this breach to assure that Equifax takes steps to minimize the exposure of Arkansans’ personal information.”
Identity theft should become a major concern if you or someone you know has used Equifax services. Identity theft is when another individual uses another person’s information to commit fraud or other crimes, most commonly to obtain access to credit in your name. If successful, scammers can ruin your credit and steal your hard-earned money.
Equifax says the information accessed in this breach includes names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some instances, driver’s license numbers. In addition, credit card numbers for approximately 209,000 U.S. consumers, and certain credit dispute documents with personal identifying information for approximately 182,000 U.S. consumers, were accessed.
Attorney General Rutledge released the following tips to help Arkansans recognize when they might be a victim of identity theft:
- Receiving unexpected bills or collection calls. Getting an account statement for an account that you did not authorize is an indication that an individual may be the victim of identity theft. Likewise, getting collection calls from a creditor or debt collector regarding an account that you did not authorize is an indication that you may be a victim.
- Not receiving expected bills or account statements. If a monthly credit card statement stops, this could be an indication that someone has stolen mail or changed your account statement mailing address. Promptly report this to the account provider.
- Having a credit application denied when there is no reason to believe there is a problem with the credit history. Be sure to periodically review the credit report, and always review it again before making an application for credit on a big purchase.
Rutledge reminds Arkansans that the Attorney General’s office has routinely referred individuals to one of three national credit bureaus, including Equifax, when they have fallen victim to identity theft. It is important to note that a consumer does not need to have used Equifax for their data to be exposed to these hackers.
If you have been a victim of identity theft, close accounts that have been tampered with or fraudulently opened and file a complaint with the FTC. The Attorney General’s office also offers an ID Theft Passport to help victims reestablish their good name.
For more information and tips to avoid scams and other consumer-related issues, contact the Arkansas Attorney General’s office at (800) 482-8982 or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit ArkansasAG.gov or facebook.com/AGLeslieRutledge.