The survey of 881 consumers by the Identity Theft Resource Center found that about 24% of those who saw unusual activity had credit card accounts opened in their name, 34% experienced changes to existing cards and about 23% had other bank accounts, loans, cards or utilities accounts opened in their name.
Others reported receiving notifications that their emails were on the “dark web” or that people were trying to open new accounts in their names even after freezing their credit files.
About 4% said they had fraudulent state or federal tax returns filed in their name, and almost 10% of the surveyed Equifax breach victims said they had a medical identity issue, including getting a medical bill or collection notice for services they never received, learning their medical records were compromised or discovering another person’s information on their medical records, according to ITRC.
The breach, announced September 7, 2017, compromised names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses, driver’s license numbers and credit card numbers. Several credit unions and credit union leagues and associations have sued the company.
“The 2017 Equifax data breach was a turning point for many Americans and it brought identity theft and protection to the forefront of their awareness. The impacts were far reaching and unfortunately because of the threat of the dark web and the value of personal information, we’ll likely continue to see the impact of this breach,” the report said.
The Identity Theft Resource Center, a nonprofit that supports identity-theft victims, said most of its survey respondents (59%) heard about the Equifax breach on the news and 26% read about it online. About 38% of respondents said they learned they were victims by receiving a letter from Equifax.
Consumers made a variety of preventive moves over the past year. About 59% of the surveyed Equifax breach victims signed up for free services offered to them, and almost 44% were still currently using free credit monitoring from Equifax, the study said.
“Other actions victims are taking include paying for credit monitoring or identity protection services (17.84%) and having freezes on their credit reports (55.99%). Many Americans are also aware of ways in their everyday life that they can protect their own personal information: more than half say they use strong passwords on all of their accounts (68%); half do not provide personal information without asking how it’s used and stored (54.24%); almost half (48.98%) do not carry documents they don’t need with them; and just under one-quarter (22.95%) use a safe or safety deposit box,” it added.
This isn’t the only data breach consumers have been worrying about, however. According to ITRC data, breaches rose 44% last year over 2016, and there were 864 breaches to date as of Sept. 5, 2018.