Equifax Hack Put Millions At Risk

Posted at 8:01 PM, Sep 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-21 22:01:59-04

If you've heard the recent news about the hack at Equifax and thought, "No one will ever steal my money and identity...." the deputy Ada County clerk says you should learn from him.
He recently had his bank account drained in the blink of an eye.

"I know now that people who shouldn't... Have my personal information," says Phil McGrane. 
 That's his new reality after his identity was recently stolen and used to drain his bank accounts.
He saw it happen in real time because, fortunately, he signed up to get phone alerts from his bank.

"When I called in there was already lots and lots of really large charges and ATM withdrawals," remembers McGrane.
The thieves actually called McGrane's bank posing as him to transfer his funds to one account for ease of withdrawal.
And they had all the right answers to the banks' normal security questions.

"This is bound to happen to just about any and everyone out there.  This is the world in which we live," says Dale Dixon from the Better Business Bureau.

Ever since Equifax announced it was hacked exposing the personal information of 143 million Americans, lots of people have been looking for help online.
But be very careful where you look.

"In a case like this I'm going to the Equifax website not searching Google," says Dixon, "I'm going to type in and double check the spelling."
That's important because thieves have set up dozens of fake Equifax sites to try to steal more personal information.
Here are some tips to keep your personal information safe.

First, make sure to change all your passwords on all of your accounts.
Work with your bank to make it more complicated to access your accounts.
The BBB says check your bank balances every day if possible and sign up for account alerts through your bank.
If you know your information has been exposed, you should freeze your credit history.
Also, those affected by the Equifax breach can get credit file monitoring and identity theft protection through the company.