How we can protect ourselves after the Equifax breach

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ROCKFORD Ill. (WIFR)-- Nearly two months ago one of the three main credits bureaus had a major data breach. Just last week they came forward about it. There are a few things we can do to alleviate future issues from this hack.

"Unfortunately most of America who has active credit, whether it's credit cards or loans or mortgages, is going to be compromised," explained Matt Lynch, Director of Marketing, Members Alliance Credit Union.

Lynch says breaching into Equifax is like hitting a gold mine for identity thieves.

"This is personal information,” said Lynch. “This is social security numbers, this is birthdays, and this is home addresses."

More than 143 million people are affected, the largest in U.S. History. Lynch says first thing we should do is go to Equifax’s website and see if our information was compromised.

"If it was then they can sign up for credit monitoring they can monitor their own credit,” said Lynch. “They can put credit freezes or credit alerts on their own account."

Next, we need to secure our bank accounts with verbal passwords.

"Having the verbal password on there is an extra layer of protection versus just verifying through the typical information you use," said Lynch.

A breach this size shakes the nation. So how does it happen?

"I'm not entirely sure,” said Matthew Wollin, Technology department Manager, Bisconti Computers. “ I just know they had a back door. More than likely it was some kind of Trojan that got put on or possibly there was a person who worked there that compromised it. Maybe they got an email that exposed them to their inside network."

Equifax is offering a year of free credit monitoring and identity theft protection on their website, but it may take longer to see any action from this hack.

"It may happen very soon,” said Lynch. “But it may take six months or year or 18 months before they try and do anything."

Lynch says while taking all the necessary steps to protect ourselves can be daunting, it's up to us to be proactive, it's the only way to ensure a thief doesn't cause us serious financial harm. All the steps can be found on members Alliance Credit Union’s website at

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