Midlands woman falls victim to Equifax data breach
COLUMBIA, SC (WACH) --- It was quite a shock when Michelle Hardee found out her personal information was stolen.
The college instructor is one of the 2.3 million South Carolinians who are now victims of the Equifax data breach. She said the process wasn't easy.
The first security site she checked was fake, and it wasn't until she went to the Equifax homepage that she noticed she'd been compromised.
“I am very surprised that a credit reporting bureau was the one that had the problem," Hardee said.
Equifax released a statement on their website announcing they're making personnel changes effective immediately. It goes on to say they're working closely with the FBI.
With millions of people already affected, the obvious question is 'what do I do next? And if I haven't been affected, what do I do to stay protected?'
Juliana Harris with the State Department of Consumer Affairs said now is the time to keep your eyes on your credit. The department recommends identity theft victims do these five things:
- File a police report
- Notify your bank
- Activate fraud alert
- Check your credit report
- Send creditors a copy of your identification.
"At this point, the information is compromised, there's nothing else we can do now except be a vigilant consumer," Harris said. "If you are scared and not sure what to do, just call the agency call the identity theft unit, we've got a lot of information."
Hardee is worried about her credit being ruined, and how much information was stolen. “I would like people to know that it probably has affected you,” Hardee said. “It's going to be your responsibility to basically clean because I don't think Equifax knows how to do that."
To file a complaint or get information on consumer issues, visit www.consumer.sc.gov or call toll-free, (800) 922-1594.
Check to see if you've been affected by the data breach here.
Call all three to place the FREEZE, call one to place Fraud Alert:
- Equifax: 800.685.1111
- TransUnion: 800.680.7289
- Experian: 888.397.3742
The fraud alert and security freeze are FREE.