To Our Clients and Friends:
Due to the severity and widespread nature of the Equifax
breach (approximately 8 million New Yorkers were affected),
we want to share some information with you about your rights
and offer some suggestions about how to protect yourself.
To find out whether you were personally affect, you can either call the
Equifax Call Center at:
click the link below to visit Equifax’s website for this incident

If you check online, you will need to click the link titled “Check Potential Impact” and provide your last name and the last six digits of your Social Security number. You will then receive a message indicating whether your personal information was impacted by this incident and Equifax will offer you the option to enroll in TrustedID Premier, its credit monitoring and identity protection service. Simply follow the instructions on the website if you wish to enroll in this service. The company says the service will search suspicious sites for your Social Security number, give you access to your Equifax report and other offerings.
Initially, the conditions of use for Equifax’s TrustedID Premier credit monitoring
and identity protection service required that enrollees waive the right to a jury trial,
accept binding arbitration and give up your right to be part of a class action lawsuit. Several politicians and consumer groups promptly criticized this waiver of rights
and called on the company to pull back that requirement.

As of September 11 th , the Equifax website reads:
“In response to consumer inquiries, we have made it clear that the arbitration
clause and class action waiver included in the Equifax and TrustedID Premier
terms of use does not apply to this cybersecurity incident.”

If you’d like to learn more about consumer legal rights relating to the arbitration clause that Equifax has made a condition to its “free credit monitoring” service for affected individuals, there’s a good article in the Washington Post .

 You will have to make your own conclusion about whether to subscribe to Equifax’s credit monitoring services and the conditions that accompany this service.
There are several effective steps you can take to protect yourself from identity theft. Below are some tips that everyone should consider:
·  Order your credit report from the three national credit reporting agencies.
You are entitled to a free copy of your credit report from each of the three big
agencies once every 12 months. Review it closely for unauthorized accounts or
any mistakes.
Credit reports can be obtained online or by phone from:
Equifax at 1-800-525-6285
TransUnion at 1-800-680-7289
Experian at 1-888-397-3742

· Make a point to periodically change your passwords and usernames for email,
financial and social media accounts. If your information was exposed in the
Equifax breach, immediately change your logins and passwords. Account
credentials can be further strengthened by enabling 2-step verification on all

· Ensure that you regularly monitor activity on your credit and financial accounts.
Any suspicious or fraudulent transactions should be reported immediately.

· If your data was involved in a breach and you have been offered identity protection
and/or credit monitoring as a result of the breach, you should seriously consider
taking advantage of it.

· A credit freeze is one of the best ways to prevent identity theft because it restricts
access to your credit report, making it difficult for identity thieves to open new
accounts in your name. While it does not protect existing accounts, it usually stops
new accounts from being opened because your credit will be inaccessible, and most
comp anies will not extend credit without access to a credit report. Since a credit
freeze essentially locks down your credit, no one, including you, can open a new
credit account in your name while it is in place.

· A fraud alert is available to identity theft victims and warns anyone checking your
credit report that you may have been a victim of identity theft. As a result, anyone
applying for credit in your name will be highly scrutinized, and you will likely be
contacted before credit is extended.

It is important that you consider what the state and federal governments are saying about this breach due to its massive scale and Equifax’s handling of the incident. The NYS Attorney General’s Office has issued an announcement that it is investigating Equifax’s handling of the breach, and has issued guidance and consumer alert . Among other things, this alert informs us how to find out whether your information was involved in the breach without accepting Equifax’s service or the accompanying conditions.
Additionally, the FTC has issued guidance with some solid advice about how everyone can protect themselves and their information in light of this breach.
Please look into this event and take reasonable steps to protect yourself as this breach is absolutely massive and has all of the ingredients of an event that will lead to stolen identities, tax fraud and other harm to those whose information was compromised.
Please contact Kurt Bratten if you have any questions or concerns relating to this incident.