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What to do about the Equifax Data Breach?

Posted by Clyde Hutchins | Sep 30, 2017 | 0 Comments

There is a good chance that your most sensitive data was stolen from Equifax. 143 million people had their data accessed by hackers. The breach occurred sometime in the May to July, 2017 time frame. For most people, the information accessed includes names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, and addresses. This is enough information to have your identity stolen.

You can check to see if your data was accessed. It seems that Equifax will not send you a written notice unless your credit card number was taken or if you had a dispute letter that was accessed. So it is a good idea to check directly with Equifax to see if you have been impacted.

It is not clear who stole the data. Maybe the data was stolen by hackers for kicks, and a possible ransom. Maybe it was stolen by criminals to sell on the black market. Maybe it was stolen by a state entity with adverse interests to the United States. We just don't know for sure. In any case, it is an alarming situation and one that should cause you to consider taking steps to protect yourself.

There are credit monitoring services available. I do not believe that those types of services are strong enough to protect you in today's internet environment because they do not prevent criminals from using your personal information. Instead, they alert you after the fact. If someone has indeed used your information, then you have to go through the expense and time of correcting your record.

A better solution is to freeze your credit. As I wrote about at the beginning of the year, a credit freeze provides much greater protection for you because no one can use your credit report unless you "thaw" it. It is free for Colorado residents and $30 for Wyoming residents (i.e. $10 per major credit bureau.). To freeze your credit, contact each of the three credit bureaus:

Equifax

Experian

TransUnion

If someone has stolen your identity or otherwise used your personal information wrongfully, please feel free to contact Harmony Law for assistance.

About the Author

Clyde Hutchins

Clyde Hutchins is the founder of Harmony Law. Mr. Hutchins started his career as a lawyer in Cheyenne, Wyoming. First gaining experience as a law clerk for the district court judges, Mr. Hutchins entered private practice with a Cheyenne firm focused on civil litigation, business law and some general practice law. Later, Mr. Hutchins went to Alaska, where he was the chief litigator for a firm that engaged in bond law, corporate law, securities law, and the broad reach of municipal law. Mr. Hutchins returned to Cheyenne to represent the State of Wyoming in the national tobacco arbitration. While in that position, he developed the consumer protection unit for the Wyoming Attorney General's Office. He led over 120 investigations and enforcement actions in Wyoming and worked on numerous joint cases with the Federal Trade Commission and other states, including Colorado. Mr. Hutchins relocated to Colorado in 2016 and founded Harmony Law. Mr. Hutchins has established Harmony Law in three principal areas of law. First, it is a general practice firm in the areas of business law, estate planning and family law. Secondly, it is a civil litigation firm, practicing law in state and federal courts throughout Wyoming and Colorado. Finally, it is one of the few firms in Wyoming or Colorado that focuses on consumer protection law.

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Harmony Law is one of the few law firms in Colorado and Wyoming that focuses on consumer law. If you have a consumer law issue, please feel free to call 970-488-1857 and speak with Mr. Hutchins.

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