Individuals who have received notice of a HIPAA breach are often offered free credit monitoring services for some period of time, particularly if the protected health information involved included social security numbers. I have not (yet) received such a notice, but was concerned when I learned about the massive Equifax breach (see here to view a post on this topic on our Privacy Compliance and Data Security blog).
The Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Information page sums it up well:
If you have a credit report, there’s a good chance that you’re one of the 143 million American consumers whose sensitive personal information was exposed in a data breach at Equifax… .”
I read the news reports this morning, and decided to go on the Equifax site, equifaxsecurity2017.com, to see if my information may have been affected and to sign up for credit file monitoring and identify theft protection (the services are free to U.S. consumers, whether or not affected by the breach, for one year).
The Equifax site describes the breach and lets users click on a “Potential Impact” tab to find out whether their information “may have been impacted” by the breach. Users can find out by clicking on the “Check Potential Impact” link and following these steps:
- Click on the below link, “Check Potential Impact,” and provide your last name and the last six digits of your Social Security number.
- Based on that information, you will receive a message indicating whether your personal information may have been impacted by this incident.
- Regardless of whether your information may have been impacted, we will provide you the option to enroll in TrustedID Premier. You will receive an enrollment date. You should return to this site and follow the “How do I enroll?” instructions below on or after that date to continue the enrollment and activation process. The enrollment period ends on Tuesday, November 21, 2017.
I then followed the “Getting Started” process by following the TrustedID Premier link, and quickly received a notice stating that my information “may have been impacted” and that I could enroll on September 11, 2017 (my “designated enrollment date”).
My curiosity got the best of me and I now know I’m on the “affected persons” list, but I haven’t yet signed up for my free TrustedID Premier credit monitoring service. I have the weekend to decide whether to sign up for the service, and 30 days from Monday (if I actually sign up for the service) to decide whether to accept the “cost” of agreeing to binding arbitration.