RELEASE: STATE OF HAWAII OFFICE OF CONSUMER PROTECTION INVESTIGATING MASSIVE EQUIFAX DATA BREACH

Posted on Sep 8, 2017 in News Releases, OCP

DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE AND CONSUMER AFFAIRS

OFFICE OF CONSUMER PROTECTION

DAVID Y. IGE
GOVERNOR

CATHERINE P. AWAKUNI COLÓN
DIRECTOR

STEPHEN H. LEVINS
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, OFFICE OF CONSUMER PROTECTION

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 8, 2017

STATE OF HAWAII OFFICE OF CONSUMER PROTECTION INVESTIGATING MASSIVE EQUIFAX DATA BREACH
URGES HAWAII RESIDENTS TO BE VIGILANT

HONOLULU – Stephen Levins, Executive Director of the State of Hawaii Office of Consumer Protection (OCP) today announced that the office has initiated an investigation into the massive data breach involving the consumer reporting agency Equifax.

Equifax announced late yesterday that it suffered a breach affecting at least 143 million Americans. Information compromised in the breach includes Social Security numbers, driver’s license numbers, names, dates of birth, credit card numbers and addresses—creating a perfect opportunity for impacted people to become victims of identity theft.

“Equifax’s negligence has created unnecessary risks for Hawaii consumers,” Levins said. “Every Hawaii resident should take precautions such as placing a freeze on their credit report to reduce any damage likely to occur because of Equifax’s massive data breach.”

In announcing the breach, Equifax stated it would offer free credit monitoring to everyone. The company has set up a website where people can check whether their personal information potentially was affected by the breach: http://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com.

In view of this breach the Office of Consumer Protection is urging consumers to seriously consider placing a credit freeze on their credit reports with all 3 consumer reporting agencies: TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax;

Additionally, the OCP states that consumers should:

  • Regularly request their free credit reports, inspect them closely, and promptly dispute any unauthorized accounts;
  • Inspect all financial account statements closely and promptly dispute any unauthorized charges;
  • Consider placing alerts on their financial accounts so their financial institution alerts them when money above a pre-designated amount is withdrawn;
  • Beware of potential phishing emails; don’t open any email messages or attachments from unknown senders and do not click on any unknown links. Fraudsters will frequently send coercive and misleading emails threatening account suspension or worse if sensitive information is not provided. Remember, businesses will never ask customers to verify account information via email. If in doubt, contact the business in question directly for verification and to report phishing emails; and
  • Be on the lookout for spoofed email addresses. Spoofed email addresses are those that make minor changes in the domain name, frequently changing the letter O to the number zero, or the lowercase letter l to the number one. Scrutinize all incoming email addresses to ensure that the sender is truly legitimate.

Consumers with questions regarding Equifax’s data breach are encouraged to contact Equifax at 866-447-7559.

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Media Contact:
William Nhieu
Communications Officer
Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs
Email:  wnhieu@dcca.hawaii.gov
Phone: (808) 586-7582
Cell:    (808) 389-2788