If you thought robocalls were suspicious before the Equifax data breach, it’s time to go on full alert.
The Federal Trade Commission warned consumers Thursday of different types of phone scams they might face in the wake of last week’s breach, exposing the personal information of 143 million Americans.
“Ring, ring. ‘This is Equifax calling to verify your account information.’ Stop. Don’t tell them anything. They’re not from Equifax,” FTC attorney Lisa Weintraub Schifferle said in a release. “It’s a scam. Equifax will not call you out of the blue.”
Consumers should never give any personal information over the phone to companies if they did not initiate the call. Don’t press any buttons to speak to an operator. Just end the call.
Have you already received a phone call you think is fake? You can report it to the FTC here.
Where to start after the breach
If you’re not sure whether your information is at risk, you can check Equifax’s TrustedID site.
The FTC also offers these tips to help determine whether you’ve been exposed and how to minimize risk.
Most financial experts are recommending you check your credit report to look for any immediate threats or fraud so you can dispute them — but you also need to revisit your report in at least three months and come up with a plan for checking in the future.
“You can use a credit monitoring service like Equifax’s TrustedID (which they’re offering for free for a year), but it’s probably best if you also check your credit reports regularly yourself,” warns software blog Lifehacker, which lays out the contact information for the various credit bureaus here.
Another common recommendation for potential fraud victims is to freeze your credit score, which is a lot more cumbersome than it sounds.
It involves fees and a lot of phone calls, but if you’re not planning on applying for a credit card or buying a house in the near future, it may be your best bet to keep potential fraud at bay.
USA Today offers a mini tutorial on how to freeze your credit score.
Equifax also is reportedly lifting its fees on credit score freezes for 30 days.
Unfortunately, experts agree that this mess isn’t going to go away anytime soon. Even with regular credit score monitoring, the FTC recommends that all taxpayers file their taxes as early as possible in 2018 before someone else tries to use their information.
If you believe your information was compromised and still aren’t sure how to proceed, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Peekz ConsultiN for guidance.
PHOTO CREDIT: Flickr Blogtrepreneur–CC
Peekz ConsultiN LLC is a Pittsburgh-based accounting firm, located in the West Side, that caters to individuals, small businesses and nonprofit organizations. We aim to empower clients to help them take control of their finances and achieve their dreams.