FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, September 8, 2017
CONTACT: Sara Rabern (605) 773-3215
PIERRE, S.D. - Attorney General Marty Jackley is alerting South Dakota citizens that a data breach of Equifax, one of the three (3) Credit Bureaus, has occurred which allowed thieves to access more than 143 million American consumers personal identifying information with 200,000 of them being South Dakota residents.
The facts according to Equifax are as follows:
“The breach lasted from mid-May through July. The hackers accessed people’s names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some instances, driver’s license numbers. They also stole credit card numbers for about 209,000 people and dispute documents with personal identifying information for about 182,000 people. And they grabbed personal information of people in the UK and Canada too.”
At this time we are strongly encouraging South Dakota consumers to use the following website to determine if they are one of the potential victims - www.equifaxsecurity2017.com
• Click on the “Potential Impact” tab and enter your last name and the last six digits of you Social Security number. Your Social Security number is sensitive information, so make sure you are on a secure computer and an encrypted network connection any time you enter it.
If the site indicates you are one of the potential victims you will be asked if you want to enroll in Equifax’s TrustedID Premier credit monitoring program. If you opt to do this you will then be instructed to return to the site to enroll in this program on or after September 14, 2017 through November 21, 2017.
“Identity theft and security breaches continue to plague consumers and businesses alike. Everyone needs to take a more proactive role of protecting personal identifying information. Regardless of whether you have been affected by this breach, every consumer should get in the habit of accessing their free credit report to be alerted to matters affecting their credit,” said Jackley.
Even in light of this data breach, the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division encourages consumers to continue the practice of checking their credit reports on a regular basis by visiting www.AnnualCreditReport.com or call 1-877-322-8228 for a free copy of your credit report. Consumers are entitled to a free copy from each company every 12 months. If consumers find errors on their report, contact the reporting agency in writing. Consumers may also want to consider some of the following options as a better way of protecting themselves.
• Consider placing a CREDIT FREEZE on your files. A credit freeze makes it harder for someone to open a new account in your name. Keep in mind that a credit freeze won’t prevent a thief from making charges to your existing accounts.
• Monitor your existing credit card and bank accounts closely for charges you don’t recognize.
• If you decide against a credit freeze, consider placing a FRAUD ALERT on your files. A fraud alert warns creditors that you may be an identity theft victim and that they should verify that anyone seeking credit in your name really is you.
South Dakota consumers may contact the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division at 1-800-300-1986 or firstname.lastname@example.org for any questions or concerns. The Privacy Rights handbook is also available and is designed to assist consumers in protecting their privacy. The handbook is available upon request or by accessing the link here.