Nearly 143 million Americans have been dealing with the massive Equifax data breach for weeks now. To inform people about the breach, the consumer credit reporting agency set up a site with important details. Unfortunately, the company's blunders continue. It sent the wrong link to the site over Twitter today, sending users to a page with no ties to Equifax.
If you follow the link, you would end up handing over your critical information to someone unknown. Yikes! As if this massive data breach wasn't bad enough, now scammers are causing more havoc. You really need to watch out for these scams that are spreading now.
Watch out for these Equifax phone scams
If you have a credit report, and most likely you do, you've probably been impacted by the Equifax data breach. Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses, along with some drivers license and credit card numbers were stolen. (Psst! Click here to find out what you need to do with your Social Security number now, it's extremely important!)
Now, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is warning everyone to beware of phone scams dealing with the Equifax data breach. Scammers are calling people, trying to trick them into handing over sensitive information. Here are some examples of calls you may receive:
"This is Equifax calling to confirm your account details."
"This is Equifax calling to inform you that we've had a data breach and your information was stolen by hackers."
"This is Equifax with your free credit freeze."
There is another ruse to watch out for. Scammers could pretend to be representatives from competitors of Equifax like TransUnion or Experian.
Just to be clear, Equifax is not calling anyone out of the blue to discuss the data breach. If you receive a call like this, it's a scam.
These types of calls are basically elaborate phishing attacks. Criminals take advantage of highly publicized situations like the Equifax breach and play on people's fears.
How to recognize and prevent falling for a phone scam
It's critical that you don't fall for these rackets. The FTC suggests following these guidelines:
Do not give personal information
If you answer the phone and the person on the other line claims to be from Equifax, hang up. Do not provide any personal or financial information unless you've initiated the call and it's to a phone number you know is correct.
Don't trust caller ID
If you are a loyal Komando.com reader, you know that criminals have high-tech tools to help them rip us off. Scammers have the ability to spoof their phone number so it looks like they are calling from a particular company, even when they are not. If you need to speak with Equifax or any company for that matter, you should initiate the call using a phone number that you trust.
If you get a robocall, hang up
Don't press any numbers on your phone to speak with a live operator or take your number off the list when you receive an unsolicited robocall. If you respond by pressing any number, it will probably lead to more robocalls. That's because pressing a number lets the scammer know they have reached an active phone number.
How to report fake calls
If you've already received a call that you think is fake, click here to report it to the FTC. If you gave personal information to a fraudster, change any compromised passwords, account numbers or security questions. Click here to learn how to create strong passwords.
To learn more about robocall schemes, listen to the following podcast. It's full of helpful information.
These types of phone calls are just a fraction of the variety of scams associated with the Equifax breach. You will see phishing emails hitting your inbox and Facebook posts trying to trick you into clicking malicious links. You need to know how to spot phishing attacks, click here to test your knowledge.
Keep checking in with our Happening Now section for the latest news dealing with the Equifax breach. Make sure to share this article with your family and friends so they can stay protected, simply click on the share buttons and post it to Facebook.