Earlier this month, consumer credit reporting company Equifax announced the personal financial information of 143 million Americans was compromised in a data breach from mid-May through July 2017.
Now, phone scammers are capitalizing on the breach by contacting consumers. The scammers claim to be from Equifax — or send out robocalls — and ask people to verify their financial information, compromising the identities of even more Americans.
If a phone call is received from Equifax, it is not Equifax and citizens are encouraged to hang up immediately.
According to the Pittsburg Police Department, no Equifax scams have so far been reported locally.
Following the breach, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt asked Equifax to bear the cost of obtaining security freezes at all three credit reporting bureaus for consumers affected by the massive Equifax data breach.
In a letter to Equifax, Schmidt, along with the attorneys general of 31 other states and territories, expressed approval of the decision by Equifax to waive the fee for its own service of placing a security freeze on affected consumers’ accounts but said that it is not enough. They said Equifax also should pay the cost for consumers to freeze their credit at the other credit bureaus.
“Although Equifax is not charging consumers a fee for its own security freeze service, these consumers are furious that they have been forced to pay for a security freeze with other companies, such as Experian and TransUnion, when this privacy breach was no fault of their own,” the attorneys general wrote. “We agree with these consumers that it is indefensible that they be forced to pay fees to fully protect themselves from the fallout of Equifax’s data breach. Accordingly, we believe Equifax should be taking steps to reimburse consumers who incur fees to completely freeze their credit.”
Equifax discovered the hack July 29, but waited to warn consumers. The Atlanta-based company declined to comment on that delay or anything else beyond its published statement. It's not unusual for U.S. authorities to ask a company hit in a major hack to delay public notice so that investigators can pursue the perpetrators.
The company established a website, https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com, where people can check to see if their personal information may have been stolen. Consumers can also call 866-447-7559 for more information. Equifax is also offering free credit monitoring to all U.S. consumers for a year.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.