As you’ve probably heard, the major credit reporting bureau Equifax had its database broken into by criminals a couple of months ago and sensitive personal information was stolen for nearly half the U.S. population. Equifax has a website where you can check whether your own information might have been compromised, and if so you can initiate sign-up in a credit monitoring service for one year:
Once you’ve read the page above, click the Potential Impact button at the bottom and provide your last name and the last 6 digits of your Social Security number (that is, leave off the first three digits). If your information was likely to have bene part of the data breech, click the Enroll button to sign up for free credit monitoring. Note that the monitoring doesn’t start immediately. You’ll have a to make a note to yourself to visit a website they’ll give you on a future date about a week away (at least in my own case). I assume this is because the service providing the monitoring can’t over 140,000,000 people contacting them at once.
If you prefer, you can phone 866-447-7559 7 am to 1 am (07h to 01h) Eastern Time seven days a week, but my guess is you’ll find the website easier to reach.
According to Equifax, signing up for the credit monitoring service will not block your ability to sue Equifax, no matter what the terms of service seem to imply.
I obtained the Equifax site link from a report on the NPR website, so I think it’s legitimate, and I got the telephone number above from their website. But for safety’s sake you might want to verify that yourself. In fact, that’s good practice in general. Avoid trusting links in emails and websites you aren’t sure of. I mean, I’m pretty confident in the information I’m supplying here, but how do you know you can trust me? This is one area where a little paranoia can come in handy.