There are a number of nefarious activities to watch out for when your Social Security number has been compromised. With the recent Equifax data breach, you might be wondering how to tell if a thief is using your stolen information.
First, check the potential impact at Equifax’s TrustedID website. You’ll have to enter the last 6-digits of your Social Security number (and your last name), and the site will tell you if there’s reason to believe your information has been stolen. When the breach was first announced, they told you to check back, which was terribly frustrating, but the site will now tell you instantly how likely it is you’ve been hacked. (Note: Some users have reported getting conflicting info from the site, so you might just want to err on the side of caution and assume your data has been compromised.)
Second, and most importantly, monitor your credit report. You can use a credit monitoring service like Equifax’s TrustedID (which they’re offering for free for a year), but it’s probably best if you also check your credit reports regularly yourself. You’re entitled to a free copy of your report from each of the three major bureaus each year (Equifax, Experian, TransUnion) and you can grab your copy at annualcreditreport.com.
If anyone has opened a line of credit in your name, it will show up on your report and you’ll have to dispute it. If there’s fraudulent activity, you should contact each of the three credit reporting agencies to dispute the inaccurate item(s). Here’s the contact info for all three bureaus:
Equifax Consumer Fraud Division, PO Box 740256,
Atlanta, GA 30374
Experian Fraud Center
P.O. Box 9554
Allen, TX 75013
Transunion Fraud Alert
TransUnion Fraud Victim Assistance Department,
P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA 19016
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