Equifax Data Breach Settlement: What You Should Know | Consumer Information

In September of 2017, Equifax announced a data breach that exposed the personal information of 147 million people. Under a settlement filed today, Equifax agreed to spend up to $425 million to help people affected by the data breach. If you were affected by the Equifax breach, you can’t file a claim just yet. That’s coming. But you can sign up for FTC email alerts about the settlement at ftc.gov/Equifax.

We like to keep our community informed. You can find more information about credit and money management on our Restoration Station Facebook page.

Read the entire article below:

https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2019/07/equifax-data-breach-settlement-what-you-should-know?utm_source=govdelivery

The Equifax Data Breach: What Do I Do Now?

The Equifax Data Breach: What to Do

 Data Breach

If you have a credit report, there’s a good chance that you’re one of the 143 million American consumers whose sensitive personal information was exposed in a data breach at Equifax, one of the nation’s three major credit reporting agencies.

Here are the facts, according to Equifax. The breach lasted from mid-May through July. The hackers accessed people’s names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some instances, driver’s license numbers. They also stole credit card numbers for about 209,000 people and dispute documents with personal identifying information for about 182,000 people. And they grabbed personal information of people in the UK and Canada too.

There are steps to take to help protect your information from being misused. Visit Equifax’s website, www.equifaxsecurity2017.com.

  • Find out if your information was exposed. Click on the “Potential Impact” tab and enter your last name and the last six digits of your Social Security number. Your Social Security number is sensitive information, so make sure you’re on a secure computer and an encrypted network connection any time you enter it. The site will tell you if you’ve been affected by this breach.
  • Whether or not your information was exposed, U.S. consumers can get a year of free credit monitoring and other services. The site will give you a date when you can come back to enroll. Write down the date and come back to the site and click “Enroll” on that date. You have until November 21, 2017 to enroll.
  • You also can access frequently asked questions at the site.

Here are some other steps to take to help protect yourself after a data breach:

  • Check your credit reports from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — for free — by visiting annualcreditreport.com. Accounts or activity that you don’t recognize could indicate identity theft. Visit IdentityTheft.gov to find out what to do.
  • Consider placing a credit freeze on your files. A credit freeze makes it harder for someone to open a new account in your name. Keep in mind that a credit freeze won’t prevent a thief from making charges to your existing accounts.
  • Monitor your existing credit card and bank accounts closely for charges you don’t recognize.
  • If you decide against a credit freeze, consider placing a fraud alert on your files. A fraud alert warns creditors that you may be an identity theft victim and that they should verify that anyone seeking credit in your name really is you.
  • File your taxes early — as soon as you have the tax information you need, before a scammer can. Tax identity theft happens when someone uses your Social Security number to get a tax refund or a job. Respond right away to letters from the IRS.

Visit Identitytheft.gov/databreach to learn more about protecting yourself after a data breach.

Watch: What to Do After a Data Breach

How to Balance Your Checkbook 101

I will be the first to admit it. I used my bank as an expensive line of credit. I would walk into a store knowing that I probably didn’t have enough in my bank account to purchase the item I wanted, but I purchased it anyway. I felt ashamed yet I knew that my bank would pay the retailer and I would get charged a fee later for insufficient funds. I told myself that the item was worth the additional fee I would pay. Then there were other times when I really thought I had enough money in my bank account and was shocked when I received a notice of insufficient funds in the mail from my bank and was charged the NSF fee for the three or four days I wasn’t aware of my actual cash balance.

I learned the hard way that knowledge is power and that if I took at least 30 minutes each month (or 10-15 minutes a week) to reconcile my checkbook to the bank statement or online banking detail, I could have saved over $500 in bank fees! In addition to bank fees I’ve sometimes found bank errors where the bank either didn’t credit me for the correct amount of my deposit or a merchant charged me twice through a debit purchase. I would not have recovered the money from these erroneous charges to my account if I hadn’t taken the time to reconcile my checkbook.

Now I make it a point to never walk into a store until I’ve reconciled my bank account and am confident I know how much money I have available to spend. If it’s something I want and don’t necessarily need, I will take a picture of it or write it down and add it to my “rewards” list. If it’s something I need, I will research on the internet to find a way to get it at a discount or a price I can afford. I may also consider checking with my bank to see if I can obtain a personal line of credit. I use my “rewards list” when I have the funds, as a way of rewarding myself for managing my money wisely or reaching another important professional or personal goal.

Stop guessing and stressing about the money in your bank account and invest time in yourself and your peace of mind and take these six simple steps to reconciling your checkbook. The Foundation for Financial Literacy has provided a valuable step by step illustration and worksheet that can be used for yourself as well as your teenager or college student.

Take a few minutes to move towards personal financial freedom. You may find a fortune in savings!

 

Sponsored by MT Austin and Associates, Your Accounting Solution!

 

How to protect your finances before the New Year; ticket #4

Welcome to the Financial Freedom Press!  This newsletter is a publication of The Restoration Station the financial literacy division of  MT Austin and Associates,your accounting solution! The mission of  The Restoration Station is to help place you on the right track to financial freedom.  We offer FREE tools (tickets) and resources to support you on your journey to financial freedom and wealth!


TICKET #4: Shred documents with personal information

cr-shredderDo yourself a favor – if you don’t have a personal shredder, purchase one. There are a number low cost shredders made for home use that range from $15-$75 ; the lower priced shredders are made to sit on top of a small wastebasket. Mail theft is still common, especially during the end of the year when tax documents and year end banking and investment statements are often mailed to clients. Shredding your documents with personal and financial information instead of throwing them in the trash will lower your chance of being a victim of identity theft and fraud.

Don’t forget to also shred your old credit cards and insurance cards instead of throwing them in the trash. Most shredders come with ability to shred credit cards. Once your shredder is filled, instead of dumping it in the trash, bag it up and donate it to your local pet shelter! The shelters often use shredded paper when they run out of kitten litter; you will feel good that you’re donating to a worthy cause and recycling at the same time!

 

I hope you have found this “tool” useful. Please comment below if you have questions or feedback. If you haven’t already, please subscribe to our blog, Financial Freedom Press to read the previous three tickets . We also invite you to visit The Restoration Station on Facebook for FREE resources and weekly live broadcasts with valuable tickets and information for the individual household and entrepreneur.

MT Austin and Associates , sponsor of  The Restoration Station provides accounting, financial reporting and income tax services to corporations, non profits and individuals. If we can be of service, please do not hesitate to send a message to us from the contact page of our website. We appreciate the opportunity to be of service!

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How to protect your finances before the New Year; ticket #3

Welcome to the Financial Freedom Press!  This newsletter is a publication of The Restoration Station the financial literacy division of  MT Austin and Associates,your accounting solution! The mission of  The Restoration Station is to help place you on the right track to financial freedom.  We offer FREE tools (tickets) and resources to support you on your journey to financial freedom and wealth!


TICKET #3: Review your health insurance bills

surprised-women-reading-n-0012Insurance companies and doctor’s offices are not immune to making human mistakes yet most people don’t bother to look at the statements from their insurer before they pay the balance due or quickly file away the invoice when no payment is due.

Why is it important to check your health insurance bills? Your insurance bill could be an early detector of identity theft. Hospitals and doctor’s offices must request a copy of your identification and insurance card before they provide services. If you see a charge on your health insurance bill for an item, doctor, facility or date that you do not recognize it could be possible that someone used your identification. If you notice something wrong, contact the doctor or health facility’s billing department for a detailed description of the item. If you are certain that it was not your claim, contact your health insurance company  immediately to request an investigation into the charge and correct the error.

If the health office confirms the person provided accurate identification and you suspect that you are a victim of identity theft, visit ftc.gov/idtheft to file a claim.

 

I hope you have found this “tool” useful. Please comment below if you have questions or feedback. If you haven’t already, please subscribe to our blog, Financial Freedom Press to receive the fourth ticket and visit The Restoration Station on Facebook for FREE resources and weekly live broadcasts with valuable tickets and information for the individual household and entrepreneur.

MT Austin and Associates , sponsor of  The Restoration Station provides accounting, financial reporting and income tax services to corporations, non profits and individuals. If we can be of service, please do not hesitate to send a message to us from the contact page of our website. We appreciate the opportunity to be of service!

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How to protect your finances before the new year ; TICKET #2

Welcome to the Financial Freedom Press!  This newsletter is a publication of The Restoration Station the financial literacy division of  MT Austin and Associates,your accounting solution! The mission of  The Restoration Station is to help place you on the right track to financial freedom.  We offer FREE tools (tickets) and resources to support you on your journey to financial freedom and wealth!


TICKET #2Check your banking activity! 

bank-statementMost banks make it easy for you to view your daily activity and pending transactions through an app on your phone. If you do not have access to an app, you should have the ability to log into your online banking account to view the current activity. You should also be able to download a copy of your last bank statement. If you still receive your bank statements in the mail, we strongly suggest you contact your bank’s customer service department and request “paper free” or digital downloads of your monthly bank statements. Most banks will now charge to mail paper statements and this would be an opportunity to both save on the banking fee and lessen the chance of your sensitive information being taken from the mail.

We suggest you get in the habit of checking your bank statements every month. Financial institutions often make errors and are only liable for them for 90 days after the date of the bank statement. In other words if the bank made an error on your statement, and you wait more than three months to look at your statement and dispute the item, you lose the opportunity to have the error corrected by the bank. You want to make sure everything is accurate, and that you can identify each cash transaction and debit purchase. If you notice something wrong, contact the vendor and/or the bank immediately.

We have provided a link to this FREE sample letter for reporting an incorrect charge to a credit card company or retail store.

If you suspect identity theft, visit ftc.gov/idtheft to report the incident.

I hope you have found this “tool” useful. Please comment below if you have questions or feedback. If you haven’t already, please subscribe to our blog, Financial Freedom Press to receive the next two tips and visit The Restoration Station on Facebook for FREE resources and weekly live broadcasts with valuable tickets and information for the individual household and entrepreneur.

MT Austin and Associates , sponsor of  The Restoration Station provides accounting, financial reporting and income tax services to corporations, non profits and individuals. If we can be of service, please do not hesitate to send a message to us from the contact page of our website. We appreciate the opportunity to be of service! Many Happy Returns!

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