With over 143 million people having their personal information compromised because of the Equifax data breach, thousands of taxpayers are wondering if they’re information is safe. It’s important to protect your personal information, especially as technology continues to advance.
According to Equifax, 143 million Americans had their personal information compromised. That means hackers had access to information like people’s names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses, and driver’s license numbers. The breach also compromised credit card numbers for at least 200,000 customers and dispute documents with personal identifying information for about 180,000 customers. The stolen information, like birth dates and Social Security numbers can be used to commit identify theft. Equifax says it will send direct mail notices to any customer whose credit card number or dispute information was compromised.
If you think your information may have been compromised, you need to check all your accounts. Check your credit cards for suspicious activity and look at your credit report to see if there are any suspicious or new accounts in your name. Keep checking these, even if it doesn’t show up now, hackers could try to use your information later on. Along with checking your credit card, your bank accounts, and your credit score, there are other ways to make sure you don’t fall victim to hackers.
If you receive a call from Equifax, hang up. Equifax will not call you to verify information. The IRS usually won’t call you either. The IRS will first send notices and letters if they need to contact you. Never share any personal or financial information over the phone. Even if the caller ID claims to be a company you know or use, be careful. Hackers can use technology to disguise their phone numbers to appear as a trusted source.
If you receive a scam call, hang up immediately and write down the number. You can contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to file a complaint about the call. If you’re not sure about a call, hang up and find the direct number for that business and call it and see. It is always better to be safe then sorry when dealing with your personal information.