Client Letter – Next Steps in Handling the Equifax Data BreachSubmitted by Alsworth Capital Management, LLC on October 16th, 2017
We sent out a letter directly after the Equifax Data Breach providing some background on the problem. We also recommended in the letter that you consider adding a security freeze on your credit accounts with each of the three main agencies. If you lost that letter or have now decided to go ahead with the security freeze, here are the phone numbers again, to make the election:
- Equifax (1-800-349-9960)
- Experian (18883973742)
- TransUnion (1-888-909-8872)
It has come to my attention that there is a fourth, much smaller and less commonly used, credit reporting company called Innovis. You should consider placing a security freeze with this company as well. Below you will find their phone number and detailed instructions for making the selections on their automated system.
Call 1-800-540-2505. There is an option to talk to a representative, however, you may be subject to long hold times. An alternative is to follow the prompts to place the security freeze through the automated phone system.
I recommend listening to the prompts, however, I have listed some of the selections I made when I entered the system to aid you in the process:
- Press 1 for English
- Press 3 for Security Freeze or Fraud Alert
- Press 2 to place a Security Freeze
- Enter your demographic data as they ask for it. This includes your social security number, date of birth and zip code. It also includes a couple somewhat odd requests. One prompt asks for “The first three characters of your first name.” You would enter the number that corresponds on the phone keypad to the first letter of your first name. Repeat this for the second and third letters. Another odd request was for the “Numeric portion of your address.” If you use a post office box, it would be your box number. If you use a house number in your address, you would enter that instead.
- After all the information is entered, you will hear a long explanation of what a security freeze is before they finally ask you to press 1 to confirm that you want to place the freeze on your record.
In addition to placing the security freeze on your credit, I recommend that you request a copy of your credit report from the three main companies. You are able to make this request for free, once per year. The report provides a summary of all your various credit accounts. It is important to review the information and look for any errors or accounts that were opened without your knowledge. Note that they report data going back ten years, so many of the accounts will have a note stating that they are closed. I like to cross off the closed accounts and highlight open accounts. You may find that an account is still open that you don’t use anymore, like a store card. It is a good idea to close any of these open credit accounts that you don’t want to maintain.
We have enclosed the form needed to make the free request. You can complete the one form and mail it in to make the request to all three companies at once.
Shane M. Alsworth, MBA, CFP®, CLU®, CIMA®
The views and opinions presented in this article are those of Shane Alsworth only