The Equifax Breach Scam
It’s been two years since Equifax announced the data breach that affected over 147 million people. To recap: hackers stole consumer names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses, and driver’s license information. People had to find out if they were at risk for identity theft. If they found their information was compromised, they likely had to spend hours reviewing their credit reports, researching credit monitoring, and possibly freezing their credit. Think of how much time was spent collectively on this incident!
This summer, a $700 million settlement was announced by Equifax. Those affected by the breach were offered either $125 or 10 years of free credit monitoring. Additionally, victims may be eligible for a $500 one-time payment to compensate for the time they spent dealing with the breach. There have been multiple issues with the rollout of the settlement, including whether or not victims will get the full $125 payment. But the settlement offer has precipitated another problem: phishing scams.
Scammers are using Equifax’s settlement offer as an opportunity to take advantage of people. Millions of people are already on high alert over this violation, so they may be more likely to be responsive to an email or phone call about the breach. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) warned consumers about fake websites popping up all over the internet. If people wind up on the wrong website (often through a phishing email link), they will hand over their personal information to a criminal. The legitimate link for information about the Equifax settlement is https://www.equifaxbreachsettlement.com/.
The FTC also warned about phishing phone calls (also known as vishing) from people offering to file the claim. No one legitimate will call you to assist with filing a claim. These phone calls are scams. You can contact the Settlement Administrator by secure form, mail, or phone here.
Use your phishing recognition skills to avoid becoming a victim of an Equifax breach scam!