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Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan
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September 8, 2017

***CONSUMER ALERT***
ATTORNEY GENERAL MADIGAN INVESTIGATING MASSIVE EQUIFAX DATA BREACH & URGES ILLINOIS RESIDENTS TO BE VIGILANT

Chicago – Attorney General Lisa Madigan today announced an investigation into the massive data breach of consumer reporting agency Equifax. Madigan also called on Equifax to provide free credit freezes to all Illinois residents in the wake of the breach.

Equifax announced late yesterday that it suffered a breach affecting at least 143 million Americans. Information compromised in the breach includes Social Security numbers, driver’s license numbers, names, dates of birth, credit card numbers and addresses, creating a perfect opportunity for impacted people to become victims of identity theft. 

“The potential risks to Illinois consumers from Equifax’s massive data breach are serious,” Madigan said. “I urge every Illinois resident to take precautions such as placing a freeze on your credit to reduce any damage likely to occur as a result of Equifax’s massive data breach.”

Madigan is also calling on Equifax to suspend its charge for placing a credit freeze on their accounts in light of the significant risk of identity theft posted by the breach. Currently, Equifax is permitted to charge Illinois residents up to $10 to implement a credit freeze, remove a freeze or temporarily thaw a credit freeze, with limited exceptions for identity theft victims, individuals age 65 or older, and active duty military service members. In announcing the breach, Equifax also said it would offer free credit monitoring to everyone.

The company has set up a website where people can check whether their personal information potentially was affected by the breach: www.equifaxsecurity2017.com

Madigan urged Illinois residents to take the Equifax breach seriously and take steps to protect themselves from the possibility of identity theft:

  • Seriously consider placing a credit freeze on your credit reports with all 3 consumer reporting agencies: TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax;
  • Regularly request your free credit reports, inspect them closely, and promptly dispute any unauthorized accounts;
  • Inspect all financial account statements closely and promptly dispute any unauthorized charges;
  • Consider placing alerts on your financial accounts so your financial institution alerts you when money above a pre-designated amount is withdrawn;
  • Beware of potential phishing emails; don't open any email messages or attachments from unknown senders and do not click on any unknown links. Fraudsters will frequently send coercive and misleading emails threatening account suspension or worse if sensitive information is not provided. Remember, businesses will never ask customers to verify account information via email. If in doubt, contact the business in question directly for verification and to report phishing emails; and
  • Be on the lookout for spoofed email addresses. Spoofed email addresses are those that make minor changes in the domain name, frequently changing the letter O to the number zero, or the lowercase letter l to the number one. Scrutinize all incoming email addresses to ensure that the sender is truly legitimate.

Consumers with questions regarding Equifax’s data breach are encouraged to contact Equifax at 866-447-7559.

People can also contact Madigan’s Identity Theft Hotline at 1 (866) 999-5630 or review Identity Theft resources on her website. The hotline is staffed with identity theft experts who can help victims report the crime to local law enforcement and financial institutions, work to repair their credit and prevent future theft. Hotline operators can also assist callers who want to take proactive steps to prevent their personal information from being stolen.

Joining Madigan in the Equifax investigation are the attorneys general from Connecticut and Pennsylvania.

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