Nevada Attorney General Adam Paul Laxalt announced that his office has launched an investigation into the recent report that Equifax Inc., one of the nation’s three major credit reporting agencies, was the target of a cyber-attack that affected approximately 143 million Americans. The breach, which took place from mid-May through July of this year, neglected to keep important personal identifying information safe and allowed hackers to access names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and even some driver’s license numbers. As a result of this breach, approximately 209,000 individuals throughout the country are estimated to have had their credit card numbers stolen.
“As a part of my commitment to safeguard the identities and personal information of Nevadans, my office will be working diligently with other states to investigate the cause of the Equifax breach,” said Laxalt. “In the meantime, I encourage Nevadans to contact Equifax to determine whether their data was compromised, and to consider taking additional steps to protect themselves.”
To find out whether your personal information has been compromised as a result of this breach, visit https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/ Consumers can also call 866-477-7559 for more information.
Those who believe they have had their data compromised may take the following steps to prevent further harm to their personal and financial information:
- Place a fraud alert on the account immediately. The alert will require any business to verify your identity before issuing credit in your name. To place a fraud alert, contact one of the three major credit reporting agencies including Experian, TransUnion and Equifax to let them know you are a victim of identity theft and would like a fraud alert on your credit file. The alert is free and will stay on your credit report for 90 days.
- Order a credit report. Consumers are entitled to one free credit report annually from each of the three major credit reporting agencies, by visiting annualcreditreport.com. In addition, if you placed an initial fraud alert, you may obtain a copy of your credit report for free. Once you have a copy, dispute any errors you find with the credit reporting agency and fraud department of each business.
- Set up a credit freeze if you are worried about damage to your credit. A credit freeze limits access to your credit and makes it more difficult for a hacker to open a new account in your name. A credit freeze will last until you choose to remove it. Keep in mind that a credit freeze will require a fee of approximately $10 unless the victim has filed a police report or a complaint with a valid law enforcement agency. Whether you place a fraud alert or a credit freeze on your account, you are encouraged to monitor your credit for potential fraud.
- Consumers should also be cautious about clicking on any suspicious links claiming to be from Equifax or financial institutions. Scammers know that consumers are wary about the potential use of their personal information, and they may use phishing emails to impersonate Equifax or other financial institutions, asking consumers to verify their financial or other personal information.
- If you know or determine your data has been compromised, obtain a Nevada Identity Theft Card from the Office of the Nevada Attorney General. The Nevada Identity Theft Program was designed by the state Legislature to assist Identity Theft victims in the recovery process by providing a new and effective tool to demonstrate that their identity has been stolen. The Program can assist in restoring credit and avoiding improper criminal charges. To be eligible for a Card, an Identity Theft victim must first file a police report with local law enforcement and ask for a brochure and application for a Nevada Identity Theft Card. After completing the application process, a victim may receive a secured, personalized identification card which can be used to alert law enforcement and creditors about fraudulent activity. For more information or questions about the Nevada Identity Theft Program, please send email to PIU@ag.nv.gov or call 1-877-213-5227.