This may cost a small fee if you do not have proof of identity theft or a police report, and you will have to lift or remove the freeze if you need a third party to access your credit report for a credit card application or auto loan application, for example.
The breach affected about 143 million in the United States, as well as some people in Canada and the United Kingdom, but Equifax didn't provide a number. Data that was accessed by the hackers included names, birthdays, addresses, and social security numbers.
It cited a February 22 regulatory filing in which Atlanta-based Equifax said more companies are offering free or low-priced services such as credit scores, reports and monitoring "as a means to introduce consumers to premium products and services".
To check whether you have been impacted by the Equifax data breach, please visit: https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/potential-impact/.
The initial announcement of the breach on September 7, which disclosed that the personal details of up to 143 million USA consumers were potentially accessed by hackers between mid-May and July.
Equifax is one of the three credit monitoring services used to monitor your credit and a credit activity. "Lifetime credit monitoring. Reimbursement for all other freezes".
Equifax, the global credit rating firm, publicly acknowledged its systems had been compromised and user information had been stolen.
In addition, hackers got more detailed information from consumers who were already challenging information on their credit reports, said McConville. An alert means a business must verify that you are the person asking for a credit request by calling you, for example.
The Federal Trade Commission has a list of steps consumers can take to protect themselves, such as seeking a credit freeze to prevent others from opening accounts under their names. Each charges $5 to $10 to freeze an account, and they will provide a PIN number that will allow you to lift the freeze.
Corporate culture could also be a factor.
Equifax also acknowledged that its language particularly over the right to sue has been confusing at best, and said it was removing that language from their website.
Experts say a breach like this takes time. Those are all crucial pieces of personal data that criminals could use to commit identity theft.
The chairmen of at least two U.S. House committees say they want to hold hearings. Several state attorneys general have also said they would investigate, which could result in fines at the state level.
Adding to the frustration was the news that three Equifax senior executives, including its chief financial officer, sold $1.8 million worth of company stock just days after the company discovered the breach but weeks before it was made public.
When Equifax came forward with the news last Thursday, it set up a website, equifaxsecurity2017.com, to help consumers find out if their data may have been compromised.
The total shares sold between the three valued at almost $1.8 million back in early August.