NEW YORK – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today warned New Yorkers to remain vigilant against possible hacking and phishing attempts by cybercriminals following the Equifax data breach.
Last week Equifax, one of the nation’s three major credit reporting agencies, experienced a massive breach affecting 143 million Americans and over 8 million New Yorkers.
Hackers accessed names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some instances, driver’s license numbers. Approximately 209,000 individuals had their credit card numbers stolen.
“In addition to taking measures to protect their credit cards and bank accounts, New Yorkers should also think twice before clicking on any suspicious links claiming to be from Equifax or financial institutions,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “Hackers are resourceful criminals who are constantly looking to exploit any vulnerabilities, and I encourage everyone to educate themselves about how to best protect their personal information.”
New Yorkers should be on the lookout for these possible attacks:
- Phishing emails that claim to be from Equifax where you can check if your data was compromised.
- Phishing emails that claim there is a problem with a credit card, your credit record, or other personal financial information.
- Calls from scammers that claim they are from your bank or credit union.
- Fraudulent charges on any credit card because your identity was stolen.
On Friday, Attorney General Schneiderman announced that his office launched a formal investigation into the Equifax breach.
Consumers should also consider taking these additional steps to protect their personal information following the hack:
- Check your credit reports from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion by visiting annualcreditreport.com. Accounts or activity that you do not recognize could indicate identity theft. This is a free service.
- Consider placing a credit freeze on your files. A credit freeze makes it harder for someone to open a new account in your name. It will not prevent a thief from using any of your existing accounts.
- Monitor your existing credit card and bank accounts closely for unauthorized charges. Call the credit card company or bank immediately about any charges you do not recognize.
- Since Social Security numbers were affected, there is risk of tax fraud. Tax identity theft happens when someone uses your Social Security number to get a tax refund or a job. Consider filing your taxes early and pay close attention to correspondence from the IRS.
UPDATE: 9/12/17: Following conversations with the Attorney General’s office, Equifax has updated the language on its website (www.equifaxsecurity2017.com) to make explicitly clear that no consumer will be required to waive his/her legal right to a class action lawsuit as a condition for enrolling in the company’s free credit monitoring and identify theft protection products.
The language on Equifax’s website has been updated to the following:
Last week, Attorney General Schneiderman announced that his office launched a formal investigation into the breach, and issued a number of consumer alerts to protect those impacted.