BATON ROUGE, LA – Following a major data breach involving Equifax,
Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry has issued a Public Service Announcement to inform consumers of how to protect their identities.
“Unfortunately – if you have a credit report, there is a good chance that you are one of the consumers whose sensitive personal information was exposed,” said General Landry. “This is a serious matter, and it is why my office has been working diligently since the breach to aid affected consumers in Louisiana.”
According to Equifax, the breach lasted from mid-May through July of this year and potentially affected as many as 143 million Americans – nearly half of the country. This prompted General Landry to issue a PSA offering tips on how consumers can protect themselves from identity theft. The hackers accessed people’s names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses, and driver’s license numbers. In some cases, people’s credit card numbers and dispute documents with other confidential personal information may have also been compromised.
“In addition to sharing multiple tips and recommendations from the Federal Trade Commission on how consumers can protect themselves, I have joined numerous other state Attorneys General in a letter to Equifax highlighting the complaints our office has received and requesting they not charge consumers a fee for the services they provide in relation to the breech,” continued General Landry. “Our office is also serving on the executive committee of a multistate investigation into the matter.”
General Landry offered the following tips to protect consumers’ identities in the event of a data breach:
- Pull your credit reports checking for any new accounts you have not opened, any suspicious usage on existing accounts, or any inquiries you did not initiate. Check your credit reports from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion for free by visiting www.annualcreditreport.com.
- Consider freezing your credit reports which makes it more difficult for someone trying to open a new account in your name. Know that Equifax Security Freeze fees will be waved for the immediate future.
- Monitor your credit card accounts looking for charges you do not recognize and report suspicious charges right away. If you do not recognize accounts or activity on your credit report, visit www.IdentityTheft.gov.
- Place a fraud alert which notifies businesses to take additional steps in confirming your identity before granting credit.
- File your taxes early to ensure that you have the tax information needed to do so before the scammer does.
For more tips on consumer-related issues, visit www.agjefflandry.com or call our Consumer Protection Hotline at 800-351-4889.