Officials with the Atlanta-based credit reporting and technology company said a "cyber security incident" may have exposed the personal information of 143 million USA consumers.
People who are anxious about their credit information being compromised and potential identity theft have been urged to contact Equifax as well as rival rating agencies TransUnion and Experian to get their credit frozen, or at the very least, monitored. Consider enrolling in a credit monitoring and theft protection service. "You should also watch your credit card statements very closely because if someone were to find out who your accounts were with, and get replica cards sent to them, then they could charge in your name and you wouldn't know until it showed up on the bil", he said.
He has yet to say how many Equifax customers have used the bot, but Reuters reports that more than 30 lawsuits already have been filed against the credit reporting outfit in the US.
A credit freeze aims to block anyone from opening new accounts in your name. That's because most creditors need to see your credit report before they approve a new account.
Washington Post: Equifax finally responds to swirling concerns over consumers' legal rights - "Sharp-eyed social media users have combed through the Equifax data breach site's fine print - and found what they argue is a red flag".
Schneiderman says hackers accessed names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some instances, driver's license numbers for more than 8 million NY residents. "Where it is removed to will depend on several factors, but assuming there are a lot of these things that Equifax has to deal with, they will try to remove all of them to state-level or federal-level court, and consolidate them so they can litigate them all as a group".
This data breach is so severe that the criminals will be able to use this information for decades, so if you're getting a message from Equifax that your request can't be processed at this time - please keep trying!
If a credit card has been compromised, you will likely hear from the bank or card-issuer first. Go to www.annualcreditreport.com to obtain free copies of your credit reports from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.
"In N.C., it is free to initiate a security freeze if you do it online", said Stein.
But even that doesn't totally protect your information since your data isn't fully frozen until it is on ice at all three credit bureaus.
Perhaps now, with the fierce wind of 143 million outraged victims at their backs, lawmakers in Washington will step up regulation of an industry that seems to be making our lives more and more complicated, not less. In some states, including OH, consumers must pay $5 to Equifax for the privilege of locking down their credit file so that no loan or credit card accounts can be opened. This means you can not apply for new credit without lifting the freeze. Was the American public's sensitive, personal information stored together in a database accessible from the web? That's because your data is the product that they sell to other people and companies. Because you are pre-selected to receive the offer, you can be turned down only under limited circumstances.