After identity theft, it can be tough to get auto financing, especially if you have bad credit. What are you to do after something as severe as the Equifax data breach that affects 143 million Americans happens? We outline some tips to help you protect your financial future.

How This Happened

According to Equifax, their security team noticed suspicious network activity on July 28 and began working to stop it. They determined that unauthorized access was gained from May 13 to July 30 through a vulnerability in an open-source application framework. The vulnerability was reported in March, and Equifax had been working to patch their systems. The breach was finally announced to the public on September 7.

During the breach, names, addresses, social security numbers, birth dates, and driver’s license numbers of consumers were accessed. Some consumers also had their credit card information exposed.

Protect Your Future

credit report disputeWhen a large-scale cyberattack happens, it’s often left to the consumer to find out if their information has been compromised. In this case, consumers can visit to check. If it has, the first step toward protection is to get copies of your credit reports and look them over for suspicious activity.

It’s recommended that consumers monitor their credit throughout the year. One way to do this is to take advantage of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, which states you're entitled to one free credit report from each of the three national credit bureaus every 12 months. Reports from Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax can be obtained by visiting

One of the best forms of protection against identity theft is a credit freeze. This stops potential lenders from being able to access a credit report, so any attempts at new credit will be denied. There’s typically a fee to activate one, and it will take a few days to go into effect. Consumers will have to place a freeze with each bureau separately, and if a new credit line is needed while a freeze is active, it'll also cost to have it lifted.

Consumers should also carefully monitor their credit cards and bank accounts. Any unrecognized charges should be reported right away. It’s a good idea to contact your credit card companies and bank to let them know if you were impacted by a breach. If so, they'll most likely issue you a new credit and/or debit card.

Another element of life that could be affected by a data breach such as this is email and social media. This means you should monitor your emails and beware of suspicious activity and/or an increase in incoming offers. With access to sensitive information, thieves have the potential to create new accounts or change existing ones.

Picking Up the Pieces

To help with any future issues consumers may face due to the incident, Equifax is offering a year of free credit monitoring and identity theft protection to all US consumers, whether they were impacted or not. Their TrustedID Premier system includes credit report monitoring for all three bureaus, copies of Equifax credit reports, scanning for SSN’s on the internet, and the ability to lock and unlock your Equifax credit reports. Signing up, however, may limit your ability to recover any damages from potential class action lawsuits.

At Drivers Lane, we understand the difficulty of bad credit. Whether due to identity theft, bankruptcy, or you’re simply getting back on track, our network of dedicated special finance dealers have the lender resources available to help. If you need a car, don’t let your credit stand in the way. Take the first step toward driving away by filling out our online auto loan request form today!