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What to Do In Response to the Equifax Data Breach

Last fall, Equifax, a major national credit bureau, announced a massive data breach affecting over 145 million consumers nationwide.  Hackers stole highly sensitive information, including Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses, and some driver’s license numbers.  The company indicates that data on over 2 million Minnesota residents was compromised.

People can take the following steps to protect against identity theft as a result of Equifax’s data breach:

Steps To Take to Protect Yourself

Additional Information Through Equifax

Equifax has a website,, which provides additional information and resources about the data breach. At this website, you may check if your personal information was exposed as part of the data breach. To do so, you must submit your last name and the last six digits of your Social Security number.

At this website, you may also enroll in Equifax’s free “Lock & Alert” product, which allows you to lock and unlock your Equifax credit file for free.  You should be aware that a “lock” is similar to the credit “freeze” described above, but the lock does not contain all of the same protections as a credit “freeze,” which is governed by state law and which credit reporting agencies may charge to place on your file.  The Lock & Alert does not freeze or lock your Experian or TransUnion credit files.

Imposter Scams

Equifax has indicated that it will not email, text, or call Minnesota residents to notify them that their personal information was exposed by its data breach. If you receive emails, texts, or calls from any person or company claiming to be Equifax or anyone else related to the data breach, they are probably an imposter scam. You should not open or respond to such communications. Communicating with such scam artists, even to ask them to stop contacting you, may only encourage them to continue contacting you.

Additional Resources

For more information, the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office has publications entitled: 

  1. What to Do When Your Personal Information is Breached;
  2. Protect Yourself from Identity Theft; and
  3. Guarding Your Privacy