By now, you probably know that Equifax, one of the three credit reporting agencies in the United States, has reported a security breach affecting about 143 million American consumers.  One hundred and forty three million people have had their names, addresses, social security numbers and more stolen by hackers. On its website, Equifax says:

The information accessed primarily includes names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some instances, driver’s license numbers. In addition, credit card numbers for approximately 209,000 U.S. consumers, and certain dispute documents with personal identifying information for approximately 182,000 U.S. consumers, were accessed. As part of its investigation of this application vulnerability, Equifax also identified unauthorized access to limited personal information for certain UK and Canadian residents. Equifax will work with UK and Canadian regulators to determine appropriate next steps. The company has found no evidence that personal information of consumers in any other country has been impacted.

Equifax has set up a web site to provide more information, find out if your information has been compromised and to sign up for the one year of identity theft protection they say they will provide for free.

You can find their site by CLICKING HERE.

We encourage you to check for yourself.  And, even though they have alerted authorities and retained cyber security experts, your identity can not really be protected unless you take an active part in protecting it.  Monitor your credit cards, bank accounts and investment accounts often.  Be alert for any activity that seems out of place.

Although this breach does not affect Taleris or your accounts here directly, a criminal in possession of your name, address, social security number and birth date can do terrible damage to your finances and your credit.

There are several steps you can take to protect yourself from fraud and identity theft.  These include monitoring your credit reports, changing passwords regularly on your accounts, protecting your social security number and more.  Beginning next week, we will post a series of articles on keeping your identity…and accounts secure.  We invite you to comment on the posts, make your own suggestions and tell your own stories.

We’ll start that Monday.