September 28, 2017
Protect Yourself Against Fraud
As you may have heard there was a data breach at Equifax, one of America’s three major credit reporting agencies.

The Equifax breach is larger and more dangerous than any of the previous breaches because the credit reporting agency stored people’s social security numbers. So while during previous breaches you could simply change your credit card number, with this Equifax disaster that will not save you from thieves.

The good news is that there is plenty of time, up to three months from the time of the breach, to act.

If you do become a victim, the process of proving to the government and creditors and that you are who you say you are can take years of pain and frustration. To defend yourself against this possibility, take the steps below as soon as possible.
Step 1: Get a copy of your credit report today

Keep the report on file to document where your credit history was at the time shortly after the breach.

There is only one site that is authorized by the government to provide truly free credit reports once a year: annualcreditreport.com

Don’t believe the hyped up websites when you do a Google search for a free credit report. If you need proof that the above site is the only one you should use, see links below:


Because of the breach, the AnnualCreditReport.com site was flooded with requests, so if it does not work immediately, try again later until it works.

If you change addresses frequently, you may have trouble having the website authenticate your identity. Do not give up and get the report mailed to you if necessary. Document this step well.

Step 2: Freeze your credit

Call each of the credit agencies and put a freeze on your credit. This will not impact your credit score or any of your open accounts. Your credit score will continue going up and down as usual.

A credit freeze prevents anyone, even you, from inquiring about your credit, unless the freeze is removed. This step costs money and fees vary by state.
If you need to finance something, unfreezing your account will cost about $30. At this point, you are a victim protecting yourself from harm. And harm, in this case, may mean years of legal woes and frustrating bureaucracy. Taking on an extra cost in terms of time and money is well worth preventing the nightmare of having your identity used by a thief.

These are the numbers to call to place a freeze on your credit. You must call all three.

TransUnion: 1-888-909-8872
Equifax: 1-800-349-9960
Experian: 1-888-397-3742

When you call, you will be given a long PIN number. Write it down. This is the piece of information that will prevent a thief from lifting your freeze. Do not hang up until you have written down and verified your PIN.
TransUnion will let you pick your own PIN. Experian will send it to you in the mail. Equifax will generate a random one and give it to you over the phone.
Record your calls if possible and if you don’t, listen very carefully.

Step 3: Opt out of pre-screened credit offers

The Equifax breach is reason enough to get off the grid for a while. If you hate junk mail, following this step will help as well.

You can call 888-5OPTOUT (888-567-8688) or visit OptOutPreScreen to opt out.
The opt out will remain for five years. If you want to opt out permanently, mail the signed Permanent Opt-Out Election Form to each credit bureau at these addresses:

Experian
Opt Out
P.O. Box 919
Allen, TX 75013

TransUnion
Name Removal Option
P.O. Box 505
Woodlyn, PA 19094

Equifax, Inc.
Options
P.O. Box 740123
Atlanta, GA 30374-0123

Innovis Consumer Assistance
P.O. Box 495
Pittsburgh, PA 15230-0495

Remember
  • File your tax return as early as possible to prevent a thief from filing a fraudulent return. This is the only loophole a thief can exploit from which you have no protection against.
  • 143 million Americans were affected. That probably means all of your friends and family need to protect themselves. Share this advice.
  • Do not get into a lawsuit with a multi-billion dollar company without consulting a lawyer first.
As always, please feel free to contact me with your questions, concerns and ideas at (907)269-0234 or Rep.Jason.Grenn@akleg.gov

Warmly,
 
Representative Jason Grenn
House District 22
Sand Lake, Jewel Lake, West Dimond & Kincaid
Let's Keep in Touch!
(907) 269-0234    Rep.Jason.Grenn@akleg.gov

Office of Representative Jason Grenn
1500 W. Benson Blvd., Rm 418
Anchorage, AK 99503