If you receive an e-mail link from Equifax offering to help you survive its massive security breach, don’t click on it. It is likely a scam.
That’s the warning of Ray Mignone, a financial adviser in Little Neck, Queens.
“Be wary of any e-mails you receive which suggest you click on this or that link. It is safe to say that some fraudster will pretend to be from Equifax,” said Mignone, who has frozen all of his credit accounts. He said everyone should do the same.
An Equifax spokeswoman agreed that consumers should be careful of fake Web sites.
“These scams,” she said, “designed to capture personal information [known as phishing], are designed to appear as if they are from Equifax and the e-mails may link to Web sites purporting to be operated by Equifax.”
She added that Equifax only sends mail to consumers through addresses that end in @equifax.com; @trustedid.com and @e.equifax.com
Mignone added that the security breach revealed in the summer, which affected about half of all Americans, was outrageous.
“Those Equifax executives,” Mignone said, “should have to go to jail. They failed in their security because they wouldn’t spend the money to adequately protect people. And they failed to spend enough money because they didn’t want to hurt their profits.”
Mignone is angry because the breach can affect many aspects of a person’s life. “It’s not only credit, it also can hurt you when you seek a mortgage or when a prospective employer reviews your records,” Mignone said. He believes that credit bureaus offering one year of free monitoring is inadequate.
“Once the year is up, they’ll want you to pay for more. They should be offering you free monitoring for life,” he contends.
The Equifax spokeswoman didn’t respond to Mignone’s complaints.
Besides freezing your accounts, Mignone said, you should never link to someone claiming to represent a company. When in doubt, he says, go to the company’s Web site yourself. Mignone also believes that consumers should Google Federal Trade Commission Equifax Data Breach.
“Follow the instructions at the FTC site to discover if your information has been hacked,” Mignone said. “You can also go to Equifaxsecurity2017.com for security protection.”
Mignone had another recommendation: Examine your credit records, because bad things could be happening.
“Every American has the opportunity to pull their credit report from all three reporting bureaus once per year, free of charge,” he said.
Mignone also recommends AnnualCreditReport.com. “It is the only Web site that is approved for this process without hidden fees or charges that might be associated with pulling your credit.”
Should one also call the three credit rating bureaus that store this vital information?
“You can try. But good luck,” Mignone said. “I’ve yet to talk to anyone who actually got through.”
The phone numbers are:
Equifax, (800) 349-9960
Experian, (888) 397-3742
Transunion, (888) 909-8872
Advisers say smart consumers should scan credit reports, looking for any suspicious activities. These include:
New lines of credit that you don’t recognize
New aliases that you don’t recognize
Old lines of credit that now show a balance or new charges.