The Equifax Breach Might Have Compromised Your U.S. Passport
This controversial breach still has aftershocks which could affect more than your credit report.
Back in September 2017, a massive security breach within the credit monitoring service, Equifax, led to over 148 million customer records falling into the hands of hackers. Shortly after, collections of sensitive data including social security numbers, credit cards, and driver’s licenses appeared for sale on the dark web. Now, a new report notes that approximately 3,200 digital passports were also stolen in the attack. But, what can you do if your passport was part of the breach?
How to Check if You’ve Been Compromised
To begin, head over to Equifax’s security website and use your social security number to check if your private information was included in the stolen data. Unfortunately, Equifax does not detail exactly what parts of your private data was compromised. With the scary possibility that your personal information is going to the highest bidder, we recommend obtaining identity theft protection as soon as possible. Luckily, Equifax provides this service at no charge.
Read More: What Should You Do After Losing Your Phone?
If you have reason to believe that your passport may have been included in the Equifax breach, take a few measures to enhance your security. For example, the DMV recommends that you contact them in regards to the stolen document. A passport is an official piece of government identification that could allow malicious individuals to impersonate you.
Replace Your Passport
If you’re a frequent traveler, you can quickly replace your passport through a United States passport agency office in under 2 weeks. Otherwise, you can visit a local post office to have your passport renewed, but the process may take over 2 weeks to complete. Don’t forget to bring a secondary piece of identification such as a driver’s license when applying.
Besides replacing your passport, you should also be aware of any activity on future credit reports. If a cybercriminal decides to use your information, your credit report will log this. To be safe, consider ‘freezing’ your credit report so that none of them can be used without prior authorization.
Look Ahead at Credit Reports
If you discover possible fraudulent activity on your credit report, go to this Equifax page to report any fraudulent activity, The reporting tool will also alert the 2 other major U.S credit bureaus, Experian and TransUnion that fraud may be at play.
Equifax’s critical data breach is a cybersecurity blunder that affected us all, but with careful attention, we can all remain safe by being diligent and aware.