Information for Consumers about the Equifax Data Breach
On September 7, 2017, Equifax notified the public that a breach of their security systems had occurred between mid-May through July 2017, affecting 143 million people. Consumer information compromised included Social Security numbers, birth dates, names, addresses, driver’s license numbers, and credit card numbers.
The Commissioner of Financial Regulation is working with state and federal government partners to determine next steps and the scope of harm done to Maryland consumers. The Commissioner’s office encourages consumers to use the following resources to determine if their data has been potentially compromised and next steps to minimize any potential harm as a result of the breach:
- The Maryland Office of the Attorney General has information on steps consumers can take as a result of the breach.
- The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has information on identity theft protection following the Equifax data breach.
- The Federal Trade Commission has resources for consumers if their information is lost or exposed.
- Consider putting a security freeze on your account. Beginning October 1, 2017, Maryland law prohibits a consumer reporting agency from charging a fee for a placement of a security freeze if the consumer has not previously requested the placement of a security freeze from the consumer reporting agency. A consumer reporting agency may charge a reasonable fee of up to $5 for each placement, temporary lift, or removal of a security freeze. A consumer reporting agency may not charge a fee for a security freeze to a consumer who has obtained a report of alleged identity fraud or for a minor for whom a consumer report already exists.
- Security freezes do not protect against all fraud such as tax, medical identity theft, and driving record identity theft. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has an additional list of tips for consumer in the wake of the Equifax security breach.
For more information or to file a complaint with the Commissioner, contact our office by e-mail or phone at 410-230-6077.