LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) –The State Attorney General’s Office has taken in numerous calls from concerned Arkansans since Equifax announced 143 million Americans could be affected by a data breach that happened over the summer.
The breach occurred from mid-May until July 29. Equifax did not announce the breach until last week. United Capital Financial Advisor Eric Hutchinson said acting quickly is vital to ensure one’s accounts are not being used by scammers.
“Monitor their accounts look for unusual activity. Unusual charges, any changes to their accounts," Hutchinson said. "Don't wait around, this is important and requires immediate action."
The information compromised in the Equifax breach included names, social security numbers, addresses, birth dates and even credit card numbers.
"Social security number is for life. So, if this information is out there and it's in the wrong hands, it could potentially be a continuing problem for a very long time," Hutchinson said.
Logging on to Equifaxsecurity2017.com will allow you to check and see if your information may have been compromised. Once there, click on “potential impact.” It will then ask you to provide your last name and last six digits of your social security number. If the website said your information was potentially breached, Equifax will allow you to sign up for their monitoring service to check for fraud.
"It's affecting a lot of Americans so it's worth checking," Hutchinson said.
Attorney General Leslie Rutledge also released a statement Wednesday encouraging Arkansans to call her office if they feel their information is being used. Hutchinson said he recommends placing a freeze on your credit to avoid scammers opening up new cards.
“Anyone that is trying to open your account or get an inquiry about your account, there’s a blockage to them being able to do that without you giving permission,” he said.
If you are trying to apply for an apartment or loan, Hutchinson said you can still do so with the freeze.
“If you are the person that is actually making the request for credit you can get that passed,” he said.
The Federal Trade Commission recommends people to file their tax returns early this year to stay ahead of the scammers in case they try to file a refund on your account before you do.