CHARLOTTE, N.C. – An estimated 5 million North Carolinians and 2.4 million South Carolinians had their personal information compromised as Equifax, a major credit reporting company, was hacked.
Nationwide, over 143 million Americans were affected by the breach.
The large data breach included names, social security numbers, birth dates, addresses and driver's licenses.
Of the 143 million, only 19 percent have taken steps to find out if their information was among those stolen. In this case, Equifax is not reaching out to victims to alert them. For this reason, AAA Carolinas encourages anyone with a credit card to visit Equifax's site to instantly see if they were impacted.
Additionally, Equifax is offering free credit reports here.
If you find that you have been affected by the breach, AAA Carolinas recommends:
- Monitor your financial accounts for suspicious activities, including transactions you did not make. Sign up for account activity alerts if your bank offers them.
- Change your passwords for your accounts.
- Change your password security questions and answers as well.
- Consider freezing your credit report, which prevents institutions from accessing your report entirely.
- If you believe your Social Security number was compromised, contact the Social Security Administration for further steps.
- Contact your bank to inform them that you were hacked.
- Contact the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) to file a report.
- Regularly check your mail – Equifax plans to send direct mail to consumers whose credit card numbers or dispute documents with personally identifiable information (PII) were impacted.
Over 30 percent of Americans say they've faced some form of identity theft. This figure rises with income. As the threat of cyber hacks continues to loom, AAA Carolinas recommends that Carolinians invest in an identity theft protection service.