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  • Major Equifax Data Breach

    Don't know how many of you have heard about this yet, but with all the Hurricane news it seems to have been buried beneath the headlines.  Equifax had an enormous data breach.  They think 143 million people were affected.  They stole huge amounts of data including names, SS #, addresses, dates of birth, credit card numbers, bank account numbers, answers to security questions, etc, etc.  It's really bad.  Equifax set up a website to check if you were at risk and with information on how to protect yourself.  https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/potential-impact/

    There's probably a lot more we all need to do to watch out for identity theft.  I've been using credit karma for years to monitor my reports.  At one time I had a identity theft alert on my credit report, but I might call the three bureaus and put a freeze on my stuff for awhile.  I don't need credit for anything these days anyway (although I was thinking about refinancing my house, that might need to just wait).

    Here an article about the breach: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/07/business/equifax-cyberattack.html?rref=collection%2Fbyline%2Fron-lieber&action=click&contentCollection=undefined&re gion=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&cont entPlacement=1&pgtype=collection

  • #2
    it's a terrible thing.  and huge lawsuits likely.

    you don't opt in to equifax.  they just store your data.

    another annoyance:

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-09-07/three-equifax-executives-sold-stock-before-revealing-cyber-hack

     

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    • #3
      Yeah, my FB group is freaking out.

      I froze my credit with all 3 agencies back in April, but this breach allows for a much worse possible fraud IMO - IRS fraud. Unfortunately, unless you live in FL, GA or Washington DC you won't be eligible to obtain a secure pin from the IRS - you have to be a victim of IRS fraud first. I wrote a post on credit freezing and IRS secure pin earlier this year:  https://missbonniemd.com/it-happened-to-me/

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      • #4
        Read about the breach. People who entered their information into the page created by Equifax to see if they were affected did not receive exact results. Something to the affect of "we'll let you know." Some have said filling out the form opts you out of taking part of a class action suit against them. I'd wait to do anything. Usually, when data gets compromised and you do get affected you should receive a letter in the mail. Has happened to me on a number of occasions for big retailers when credit card numbers have been taken.

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        • #5




          Yeah, my FB group is freaking out.

          I froze my credit with all 3 agencies back in April, but this breach allows for a much worse possible fraud IMO – IRS fraud. Unfortunately, unless you live in FL, GA or Washington DC you won’t be eligible to obtain a secure pin from the IRS – you have to be a victim of IRS fraud first. I wrote a post on credit freezing and IRS secure pin earlier this year:  https://missbonniemd.com/it-happened-to-me/
          Click to expand...


          Having been through the IRS tax filing scam, it is a minor annoyance for the individual but a huge calamity of wasted tax money for the government. Billions of dollars are given away annually to the fraudsters with a system that should be easy to fix.

          Gee, (hypothetically) VagabondMD earned $200k last year and about the same for the last ten years, and we direct deposited a $400 refund to his bank account (as we have for the past ten years). This year, he earned $40,000 and is claiming a $5k refund that he wants placed on a debit card and sent to a PO Box. Nothing fishy here at all.

          You would think a computer could easily screen these outlier returns for additional investigation, and, heaven forbid, delay some of these refunds by a couple of weeks. The "pay now, inquire later" mentality is exactly how a common Medicare fraud has worked successfully in the past. Open a storefront for durable medical goods (do not buy or sell durable medical goods), obtain a list of Medicare patients on the black market, bill the ************************ out of Medicare for 6 weeks, collect the checks, shut down the business, and by the time Medicare realizes that there is a problem, the thieves are long gone.

          I agree with @q-school that the Equifax breach is more troubling in that we do not choose to have a (direct) relationship with Equifax. It is foisted upon us when we apply for a credit card or mortgage. Unlike a mortgage that we can pay off and make go away or a credit card account that we can close, we cannot terminate our Equifax relationship.

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          • #6
            All very true.  The tax return stuff really bugs me.  Do you think filing taxes early (like as soon as you get your W2's) offers any protection?  Doesn't seem to be any good way to protect yourself.

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            • #7
              After reading about the Equifax hack I decided to log into CreditKarma to make sure all was okay. My credit score dropped by 35 and 32 points on TransUnion and Equifax respectively. No new inquiries, no new accounts. My credit card balances haven't really been any higher than usual (always paid in full at the end of the statement). The only thing I've done recently is several "check my rate" for student loan refi prequalifications... In every case I ensured that it specified it would be a soft pull and "would not affect credit." None of those inquiries show up on my CreditKarma FYI. Anyone else experience something like this? i still have "Excellent" credit, but the number is just no longer in the 800+ range.

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              • #8




                Some have said filling out the form opts you out of taking part of a class action suit against them.
                Click to expand...


                From their FAQs section:

                "2). NO WAIVER OF RIGHTS FOR THIS CYBER SECURITY INCIDENT
                In response to consumer inquiries, we have made it clear that the arbitration clause and class action waiver included in the Equifax and TrustedID Premier terms of use does not apply to this cybersecurity incident."

                 

                Source: https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/

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                • #9
                  Between this, the OPM hack and Yahoo! Mail hack...I'm sure our info is public domain by now. -SMH

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                  • #10
                    Outside of these breaches, your info was already out there.  You always need to be vigilant for identity fraud.

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                    • #11
                      I've recommended my more established clients go ahead and do the credit freeze.  It's another hoop to go through if they need access to credit approval because of the PIN, however, most would rather be in control of who accesses their credit reporting information.  Getting the freezes in place has been difficult for most clients.  One spent over an hour yesterday just for her three accounts.  She tried to do them online and ended up calling in to each one.  I saw something this morning it looks like the Equifax site for freezing is down right now.

                       

                      For younger physician clients it may be more hassle than it is worth though.  They need access to their credit reporting more frequently than an older client. So, if you are planning on a student loan application, refinancing of a loan, car loan or mortgage, or even a job application in the near future it may not make sense to do a blanket freeze at this point.

                       

                      Many clients are also opting into LifeLock and I saw their new subscriptions have increased 10x since Equifax announced the breach.  Definitely check with your employer to see if they offer any complimentary credit monitoring service as part of your benefits package.  I know the Mayo Clinic offers CyberScout credit monitoring at no charge to physicians, however, you need to enroll in this part.

                       

                      I think the monitoring services are as important as the credit freezes because you still have to worry about issues such as medical and identity theft, abuse of existing credit accounts, and the big one - tax fraud.

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                      • #12




                        Between this, the OPM hack and Yahoo! Mail hack…I’m sure our info is public domain by now. -SMH
                        Click to expand...


                        Between this (Equifax), Anthem, Home Depot, Target, a fraudulent payday loan taken out via Lion Loans (previously documented here) and a prior IRS fraudulent tax filing, my info is out there and actively being abused.

                        Oh, and twice in the last month, someone has tried to get into my bank account, stopped by the password and/or two factor authentication. I have seen emails from middle of the night attempts to get in. It is only a matter of time.

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                        • #13
                          What another annoyance. Just got a letter from PayPal credit saying they blocked an attempt to open an account in my name. Just gonna become a reality of the world we live in.

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                          • #14
                            ^^^Crazy^^^

                            I just hope keeping my credit frozen will deflect the majority of this abuse.  I don't know what to do about the possible IRS fraud and other types of identity theft that I'm not even aware of yet.  Considering signing up for a service such as "lifelock"  Anyone have any experience with such services?

                            I'm going to take advantage of the equifax free service for 1 year.  It includes 1 million in ID theft insurance.  I don't see a downside to using it while it's free.  And they have clarified that it does not waive your rights to participate in any class action lawsuits.

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                            • #15
                              I have a few clients who have had Lifelock for years and like it. The thing to remember is these services do not stop someone from stealing your identity, but they monitor to let you know if there is suspicious activity.  If something does get your identity some of the services will help you recover your identity and also provide you coverage for out-of-pocket expenses and lost wages. Fortunately, I have never known anyone who has had to go to that step.

                               

                              Personally, I am looking at IdentityForce, however, I am also asking client's about their personal experiences with Lifelock. I'm not sure if any of these services are really worth it, but I am treating it like an insurance expense.

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