Breaching a credit reporting agency is hitting a veritable jackpot of personal info.
Equifax, one of the three major consumer credit reporting agencies, informed the public that hackers breached company data and compromised sensitive information, including Social Security numbers and driver's licenses, for 143 million American consumers. And post-breach, the company is asking for more personal info from consumers.
Equifax will tell you if your information has been affected, and is even offering a free year of credit reporting for their customers, if you simply provide them with your last name and the last 6 digits of your Social Security number. It is very unusual to use that much of your SSN for any kind of verification, plus you're providing a currently compromised company with more of your sensitive personal information.
So what should you do now?
Reset Your Passwords
Regardless of the type of hack or breach, it's always a good idea to reset passwords for sites that contain sensitive information like financial, health or credit card data. Remember to use a different password for each account, don't use sensitive info in your username or password, and special characters don't help that much.
Use 2 Factor Authentication
If a website or service offers additional security features, like secondary or two factor authentication, make sure to use it. Setup is easy and typically involves sending you a message with a one-time code to enter when you login; some services make you do this every time you login, and others only when logging in for the first time on a new device or computer.
Update Answers to Security Questions
You can assume that all your information is compromised during a hack, including answers to your security questions. Plus based off the question asked (what's your favorite food?), your answers are typically easy to guess (pizza) which defeats the purpose. Other guesses can be made by doing a couple quick web searches, so make your answers memorable but uniquely specific.
Report It to BBB
Report scams, cyber issues, unauthorized login attempts and any other issues to the BBB Scam Tracker so we can monitor and investigate patterns across the web.
+ BBB Tips: Credit Freezes and Fraud Alerts: go.bbb.org/creditfreeze
+ BBB Advice in the Wake of a Data Breach: go.bbb.org/breach
+ FTC Identity Theft Recovery Plan: identitytheft.gov