50/50 Chance for Identity Theft - What you can do?

Mortgage and Lending with Bay Equity, LLC 770-634-4021 NMLS #206275 GA 25689

Equifax, an Atlanta based company announced on September 7, 2017 that there may have been a breach of their database sometime between mid-May and the end of July.  This breach puts 143 MILLION consumers at risk. Let's put that in perspective, that is almost HALF of the population.  So what will the hackers do with this information, well the possibilities are endless and the financial cost to the consumer can be staggering.  With hackers now having access to names, social security numbers, addresses, birth dates, etc. they have all of the information necessary to apply for credit. The obvious types would be credit cards, auto loans, personal loans, mortgages, etc.  But in recent years, there has been a surge in tax fraud too.  Imagine a bogus tax return being filed with the Internal Revenue Service using your social security number!!

How can you find out if you are one of the 143 MILLION???  The first step will be to check the Equifax website,  here is the link, CHECK MY INFO to find out if you are at risk.  

Identity theft continues to be a threat for all costing Americans millions.   Here are some suggestions for you to consider to protect yourself:

  • Check your credit report!  You are entitled to a copy of your credit report from each of the three credit bureuas each year.  Rather than request all three at the same time, request one every 4 months.  That way you have a better chance of catching any problems more quickly.
  • If you are one of the 143 MILLION, sign up for the credit report monitoring service Equifax will be offering.  
  • Carefully monitor ALL of your accounts!  
  • Don't give out non-public personal information on the phone.  If you receive a phone call from a creditor asking you to provide your social security number or date of birth as confirmation, this likely can be a scam.  Protect this information!!
  • DO NOT carry your social security card in your wallet!
  • Do you know you can put a freeze on your credit reports by contacting each of the three credit bureaus? This is a simple process and can stop someone from opening a new account in your name.  
  • If you discover an error on your report, contact the credit bureau reporting it immediately and ask to have it removed.  
  • Don't click on a link in an email from a creditor.  Many of these emails are ph
  • If you suspect someone has filed a tax return using your social security follow the instructions listed on the Internal Revenue Service website.  Here is the link for these instructions.


For your convenience, listed below is the contact information for all three credit bureaus

PO BOX 4500 PO BOX 2000 PO BOX 740241
ALLEN, TX 75013 CHESTER, PA 19016 ATLANTA, GA 30374
888-397-3742 800-888-4213 800-685-1111
Experian Transunion Equifax


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Kathy Sheehan Senior Loan Officer






Bay Equity LLC

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11475 Great Oaks Way, Suite 350, Alpharetta, GA 30002

800.BAY.3703 Bay Equity LLC NMLS ID#76988



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The opinions and general information in this blog are soley those of Kathy Sheehan.  Specifics regarding an individual case should be discussed in detail with a loan professional.  For a confidential consultation, please feel free to contact me via phone or email.  All terms and conditions are subject to change.


Comments (70)

Catherine Chaudemanche - Edison & Central NJ
Metuchen Keller Williams Elite Realty / Middlesex County, NJ - Edison, NJ
Full Time, Informed and Involved- Results Driven

Thanks Pat-


Sep 09, 2017 10:22 AM
Carol Williams
Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals. - Wenatchee, WA
Retired Agent / Broker / Prop. Mgr, Wenatchee, WA

Hi Kathy,
I saw this on Pat Starnes, Brandon, MS reblog this morning.  Many of us are wondering what is the best course of action.  I have heard to be careful about signing up for the free monitoring service because we are waiving certain rights by doing so.  Do you know about that aspect?

Sep 09, 2017 10:24 AM
Bruce Kunz
C21 Solid Gold Realty, Brick, NJ, 732-920-2100 - Howell, NJ
REALTOR®, Brick & Howell NJ Homes for Sale

Thanks for sharing your post, Kathy Sheehan. It seems the only way to protect our information is to be vigilant for changes in it. I use both CreditKarma.com and Credit.com to regularly check my accounts status and keep an eye on the account statements as well. 

As far as executives selling out before the stock value dropped I think it just shows what kind of terrible people are running Equifax.


Sep 09, 2017 10:32 AM
M.C. Dwyer
Melody Russell Team at eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Felton, CA
MC Dwyer-Santa Cruz Mountains Property Specialist

Great discussion points from A/R members in response to your post - thanks all.

Sep 09, 2017 11:06 AM
Stavrula "Sam" Crafa, RNC,GRI, CDPE, PSA
Future Home Realty - Seminole, FL
Providing the integrity and service you deserve.

Thank you for the post. I am one that is possibly compromised and thank you for the link. I have registered. 

Sep 09, 2017 04:41 PM
Praful Thakkar
LAER Realty Partners - Andover, MA
Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale

Kathy Sheehan - thanks for the link to trustedid - I just registered there. However, was nervous providing them with my information.

Sep 09, 2017 11:32 PM
Doug Dawes
Keller Williams Evolution - 447 Boston Street Topsfield, MA - Georgetown, MA
Your Personal Realtor®

Good Morning Kathy Sheehan 

First, I hope you folks in GA do not get hit too hard from Irma.

Pam, my wife, & I purchased a top notch ID Theft program over a decade ago. We don't rely on companies that get breached.

Sep 10, 2017 05:06 AM
Sheila Anderson
Referral Group Incorporated - East Brunswick, NJ
The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133

Good morning Kathy. This topic leaves mewondering why I would attempt to tackle it. 

Sep 10, 2017 06:45 AM
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
Retired New Hampshire Home Stager

My husband checked and said we aren't involved. Doesn't mean some other breach won't get us. Seems all too common these days!

Sep 10, 2017 07:17 AM
Sandy Padula & Norm Padula, JD, GRI
HomeSmart Realty West & Florida Realty Investments - , CA
Presence, Persistence & Perseverance

Good reminder for all to monitor their credit and not leave it up to a major corporation. I already checked mine!

Sep 10, 2017 08:25 AM
Sam Kader MLO 130505 MB 78982
Pacific Coast Financial LLC Lic# MB78982 - Seattle, WA
Real Estate NMLS 91980 Mortgage Broker Lic MB78982

Great post! Thanks for sharing Kathy.  May I add another option is to consider for setting up fraud alerts on your files. This option require creditors to contact you directly by phone for approval before allowing an account to be opened.  

Sep 10, 2017 06:29 PM
Sally K. & David L. Hanson
EXP Realty 414-525-0563 - Brookfield, WI
WI Real Estate Agents - Luxury - Divorce

t can certainly be a long and frustrating process...but being vigilant is imperative to keeping good credit !

Sep 10, 2017 11:50 PM
Barbara Todaro
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Happily Retired - Franklin, MA
Previously Affiliated with The Todaro Team

Good morning, Kathy Sheehan I will be pulling a full credit report this week.... I check my credit score monthly.... time to see the full picture...

Sep 11, 2017 04:36 AM

By Checking the equifax site you can unknowingly sign away any of your rights in a class action lawsuit. So I wouldn't be advising that people check there or that they enter sensitive info on this unsecured website.

Sep 11, 2017 06:18 AM
MichelleCherie Carr Crowe .Just Call. 408-252-8900
Get Results Team...Just Call (408) 252-8900! . DRE #00901962 . Licensed to Sell since 1985 . Altas Realty - San Jose, CA
Family Helping Families Buy & Sell Homes 40+ Years

Thanks for sharing this info; it's sad that it's needed.

Sep 11, 2017 10:35 PM
Roy Kelley
Retired - Gaithersburg, MD

Congratulations on your feature recognition. This is timely advice to share.

Sep 12, 2017 07:48 AM
Terrie Leighton
Ferrari-Lund Real Estate - Reno, NV
Reno Real Estate Agent ~ Selling Homes in Reno

I must say I am a skeptic as well. I am not signing up but will get a full credit report as well. Thank you for bringing this to our attention. 

Sep 12, 2017 09:42 AM
John Wiley
Fort Myers, FL
Lee County, FL, ECO Broker, GRI, SRES,GREEN,PSA

Thanks for sharing this vital information, warning and tips for protection.

Hackers are vicious and clever.

Sep 14, 2017 09:20 AM
Lore Lingner
Monterey Coast Realty - Carmel, CA
Personal Care And High-Tech Tools

Thank you, Kathy, for a great article.  I have registered and pulled my credit report.  After much pressure, Equifax removed the paragraph that you give up your right to sue.  

It is sad that this is the world we live in.  In the past, I've been notified by Home Depot and TempurPedic that their records have been breached.  I'm sure we'll see more of this.  Just need to be vigilant. 


Sep 19, 2017 10:45 PM
Jan Green - Scottsdale, AZ
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

Thank you for giving clear instructions about what to do re the Equifax indentity theft issue!  Appreciate it and will bookmark for the future.

Sep 29, 2017 05:03 PM