news broke about the colossal data breach at Equifax a
few weeks ago, experts recommended that affected
consumers help protect themselves from ID theft by
freezing their credit reports at each of the three main
there’s a little-mentioned fourth bureau, called
Innovis, that at least one cybersecurity expert is
advising consumers not to ignore. Innovis, founded in
1970 and based in Columbus, Ohio, provides businesses
with identity verification, credit reports and fraud
people still are not aware how big Innovis has become
and how many organizations are using them for consumer
credit checks now," said Brian Krebs, who runs the
computer security and cybercrime website, www.KrebsonSecurity.com
considering security freezes at the big three —
Equifax, Experian and TransUnion — also should
consider requesting one with Innovis, he said. The
freeze can be done online at www.innovis.com/personal/securityFreeze
credit reports prevents credit bureaus from releasing
people’s files without their permission. Because most
businesses won’t extend credit without checking a
consumer’s credit history, ID thieves are blocked from
opening fraudulent accounts.
consumer group U.S. Pirg, among others, has recommended
consumers caught up in the Equifax breach consider
credit freezes at Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.
asked about Innovis, U.S. Pirg said requesting a freeze
with that bureau "wouldn’t hurt."
don’t recommend Innovis for a freeze because it is
used primarily by creditors buying lists of consumers
for marketing (pre-screening) purposes," said Mike
Litt, consumer advocate at U.S. Pirg in Washington, D.C.
"It wouldn’t hurt, but is not necessary the way
it is with the big three," he said.
said consumers may also want to opt out of pre-approved
credit offers because ID thieves like to raid mailboxes
and steal the offers. People can opt out for five years
or permanently, or opt back in if they change their
mind, at www.optoutprescreen.com
credit records doesn’t protect consumers from fraud
involving existing accounts, such as tax refund and
health insurance fraud.
best defense is to regularly review credit files, bank
accounts and Social Security statements for signs of
security breaches are so common these days, Krebs thinks
everyone should behave as though their personal data has
been stolen, not just those victimized in the Equifax
information "is broadly for sale in the cybercrime
underground to anyone who wishes to buy it and use it
for fraudulent purposes," he said.
find out if your personal data was compromised in the
Equifax breach — which, according to the company,
exposed Social Security numbers, birthdates and
addresses of 143 million Americans — visit www.equifaxsecurity2017.com