You’ve already heard about the big Equifax data breach that exposed the personal information — names, social security numbers, birthdays, and a whole bunch of other stuff — of over 143 million people, right? If not, check this out and then come back, but once you’re up to speed, you should know that there’s ANOTHER scam going around hoping to capitalize on it.
According to the FTC, scammers are now making random phone calls to innocent citizens and pretending to be from Equifax. They say they’re “calling to verify your account information” but all they’re really trying to do is steal your info so they can use it in identity theft scams later on. Don’t buy it!
This scam is a lot like the fake IRS phone scams that pop up during tax season, where the scammers pretend to be from the government. In this case, the fake “Equifax employees” will ask for sensitive info like your social security number and even your bank account or credit card numbers. Here’s a few things to keep in mind when you get a call like this:
- Like the FTC says, Equifax will never call you out of the blue and ask for information.
- Never trust what your phone’s caller ID says, because they can trick that into saying whatever they want, and it might look legit when it’s not.
- If you get a call from a machine, just hang up instantly. Those are robocalls and they’re illegal, which means whoever is running it is a scammer.
- The only outreach Equifax is doing for citizens is the website and fraud protection service I talk about here.
If you’ve already gotten a call like this and fear that you might have accidentally given out information that you shouldn’t have, the FTC recommends that you change your passwords on your bank and credit card account logins and keep a close eye out for possible identity theft. If you believe someone is trying to use your identity or financial accounts, alert your bank or credit card company as soon as you spot something suspicious, and they’ll almost always be able to reverse fraudulent charges and block further activity.
Stay safe out there!