SAN DIEGO, Calif. – September 10, 2018 – Today, the Identity Theft Resource Center®, a nationally recognized non-profit organization established to support victims of identity crime, unveiled the findings from a timely study that was conducted in order to better understand how the Equifax data breach impacted individuals and to evaluate whether consumer behaviors have changed since first hearing of the breach, one year ago. The Aftermath: Equifax One Year Later discovered that nearly 90 percent of respondents reported that they experienced adverse feelings or emotions – beyond the financial impacts. Of those, 81 percent of respondents said they felt worried or anxious, 76.85 felt angry, 65.7 percent felt violated and 50.96 percent felt unsafe.

“The Aftermath Survey, our signature victim impact report, gives us the opportunity to understand how these incidents leave victims feeling emotionally and psychologically,” said Eva Velasquez, president and CEO of the Identity Theft Resource Center. “It was important that we gauge the emotional, psychological and physical impacts of the Equifax breach on those that had their personally identifying information compromised. And those that were impacted by the Equifax incident are reporting other aspects that correlate closely with those of victims of identity crimes.”

In light of this, respondents also indicated the actions they are currently taking in order to protect their identity with almost half stating that they are still using the free monitoring provided by Equifax. Other actions victims took include the following: paying for credit monitoring or identity protection services, having freezes placed on their credit reports, using strong passwords on all accounts, not providing personal information without asking how it’s used and stored and using a safe or safety deposit box.

“It’s not surprising that only 21 percent of respondents reported they had seen unusual activity on their credit report following this major data breach,” said Susan Grant, director of Consumer Protection and Privacy at Consumer Federation of America. “What many people don’t realize is that thieves will often delay using their victims’ information until after the free credit monitoring provided by the breached entity has expired. Consumers should take advantage of their new right to freeze their credit reports for free because it’s one of the most effective ways to protect themselves from new account fraud and other problems that typically result from data breaches.”

Additional findings include:

  • Nearly 60 percent of respondents said they took advantage of the free services offered to them such as credit monitoring after the Equifax breach, while 13.43 percent said they don’t remember if they did or not.
  • Of the 21 percent of respondents who indicated they had seen unusual activity after the breach, 3.53 percent noted having either state or federal taxes filed fraudulently in their name and about 10 percent had some sort of medical identity issue including receiving a medical bill or collection notice for services they never received, learning that medical records were compromised, or discovering another person’s information on their medical records.
  • Other findings including aspects of the emotional / psychological impacts are available by downloading the full report available now.

To access the full The Aftermath: Equifax One Year Later with additional findings, please go here. For more information on the Identity Theft Resource Center and the how it assists victims of identity crime, visit www.idtheftcenter.org

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Methodology

The “Equifax Breach Aftermath” survey was distributed to Americans online. This sample provides a basis for evaluating trends in impact, behavior, and habits. Survey population: 881 U.S. respondents online. Responses were collected from August 19, 2018 – August 30, 2018. As a part of the survey panel, ITRC asked participants to share if they were a victim in the Equifax data breach, if they were a victim of identity theft prior to the Equifax breach, how they found out they were a victim, how they were impacted by having their information stolen, if they took advantage of credit monitoring, and any feelings or issues they experiences after the breach. Lastly, ITRC asked respondents to assess if their behavior has changed since becoming a victim of the Equifax breach.

About the Identity Theft Resource Center

Founded in 1999, the Identity Theft Resource Center® (ITRC) is a nationally recognized non-profit organization established to support victims of identity theft in resolving their cases, and to broaden public education and awareness in the understanding of identity theft, data breaches, cybersecurity, scams/fraud, and privacy issues. Through public and private support, the ITRC provides no-cost victim assistance and consumer education through its call center, website, social media channels, live chat feature and ID Theft Help app. For more information, visit: http://www.idtheftcenter.org

Contact: Charity Lacey, VP of Communications

CLacey@idtheftcenter.org

858-634-6390