THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF TEXAS
Ken Paxton

Attorney General Ken Paxton issued a second consumer alert with updated information about the massive Equifax data breach affecting approximately 12.2 million Texans.

This latest alert includes updated information and special information for Senior Texans concerned about their social security numbers.

EQUIFAX CONSUMER FACT SHEET

How do I know whether MY information was affected?

Go to www.equifaxsecurity2017.com to find out whether your information was compromised in the breach.  Make sure you go to the correct website and NOT to a scamster’s look alike page.

 If you were among the consumers who complained that you tried going to the web page but couldn’t get through – try again.  If you cannot get through, contact my office and report the detail of your efforts.

If you previously checked and were told that your information was NOT compromised, CHECK AGAIN TO BE SURE.  Originally, 12 million Texans were known to be affected by the breach, but in October, this office obtained information from Equifax that an additional 200,000 Texans were affected.

I know that Equifax is offering credit monitoring for free but have read that consumers who sign up for it are waiving their right to take legal action against the company.

Equifax has now stated, in writing, that enrolling in the free credit file monitoring and identity theft protection product it is offering does NOT prohibit consumers from taking legal action.   The Attorney General’s office has reviewed Equifax’ website and confirmed that the language in Equifax’ Terms of Use has been changed to make clear that Equifax will not apply any arbitration clause or class action waiver against consumers for claims related to the free products offered in response to the data breach or for claims related to the data breach itself.

I‘ve signed up for credit monitoring but wonder what else I could do to protect my Social Security number from being compromised in the years to come?

If you haven’t already, you should go to the web site of the Social Security Administration (SSA) and open your personal account.  Creating that account takes away the risk that someone else will create one in your name using your Social Security number. (If an identity thief sets up an account using your information, they can file for benefits posing as you - either now or once you are eligible- and could collect benefits as you without your knowledge.)

If you already have an account but haven’t signed in for awhile, log in and update the security options that SSA now makes available to you. 

If you’re already receiving Social Security benefits – make sure your payments continue to arrive as scheduled and if you notice one is missing, report it immediately.  In theory, anyone with your Social Security number and your address – can take steps to redirect Social Security or retirement payments to a new bank account so be vigilant.

If you know that your social security information has in fact been compromised and don’t need to do business with SSA online, you can fill out a form that will block all electronic and automated telephone access to your Social Security records.  Once you do that, no one (including you) will be able to see or to change your personal information on the internet or through the automated phone service.  If you change your mind about this in the future, you can ask SSA to unblock your account.

Also, retain all documentation you receive from the Social Security Administration.

Consumers who wish to report additional information or to file a complaint may file online at https://www.texasattorneygeneral.gov/cpd/file-a-consumer-complaint.

Attorney General Paxton’s first consumer alert on the Equifax data breach, which was issued on September 12, includes good information and tips for consumers and is available here: http://bit.ly/2xG4OjU.