In the wake of the recent hack of Equifax, it’s important to realize that, and with like any other large hack, there will be scammers and other nefarious groups vying for your personal information, so how can you protect yourself? Here are some tips to prevent yourself from falling victim to these scammers, and how they will attempt to scam you.
Email is the most obvious way for the scammers to try and steal your information. Most emails will try to convince you that they are from Equifax and will include a link within the body of the email in order for you to verify your details, and ask you to input your personal information. If any such emails are received, don’t even bother opening them. Best way to protect yourself is to simply delete the email.
In Canada, you are allowed to pull one free credit report on yourself every year. If you’re truly concerned about whether someone has accessed your data and applying for credit in your name, contact Equifax and TransUnion directly by phone, and request this service.
Note that online ads can be faked as well, so if you see any ads pertaining to the hack, don’t click on them.
Yes, fake news does exist, and any articles pertaining to the breach of Equifax, especially ones that contain links promising to confirm whether your data has been stolen or not should be promptly ignored. If you are truly concerned about your information possibly being compromised, then visit Equifax.ca directly for the latest information.
Equifax will NOT personally phone you. It’s as simple as that. Any phone calls on behalf of Equifax or partner companies will be fake. Equifax deals directly with clients via regular old mail. If it’s really important, it will be a registered letter.
Equifax Canada has promised that any Canadians that have been directly impacted by the breach, (approximately 100,000 Canadians have had their information accessed) will be given free credit monitoring services and Identity Theft Services. If you have been impacted, Equifax will contact you by mail to let you know.
It’s important to be cognizant that scammers will unfortunately take advantage of this situation in order to gain your personal information for identity theft purposes. Be vigilant and remember, when in doubt, assume it’s a scam. If in doubt, never give out any personal information at all. Always phone Equifax directly yourself, and never return a call to someone, even if caller ID says its Equifax as caller ID information can be faked rather easily.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact me.