Equifax hack: What to do if your identity was stolen

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Equifax, one of America's three major credit bureaus, revealed last week that its website had been breached and that the names, Social Security numbers, birthdates, addresses and driver's license numbers of 143 million Americans may have been compromised.

Place a fraud alert on your credit reports, as this provides an extra layer of protection and would make it hard for an identity thief to open an account in your name Fraud alerts are free and stay on your report for 90 days. It gets its data - without you even knowing - from credit card companies, banks, retailers, and lenders. But really-Equifax?! Along with TransUnion and Experian Plc, the company's primary mission is to compile, store and disseminate personal information on customers to creditors who want to know if they are making good loans or not. A credit freeze makes it hard to open new accounts in your name.

The leak also included credit card numbers for more than 200,000 Americans and documentation related to disputes, which contains personal and identifying information for some 180,000 Americans - on top of the millions whose basic credit information like social security numbers and credit reports are vulnerable to internet poaching, according to Forbes.

Equifax waited six weeks to report the data breach; the third hacking at the company this year. "We are already in direct contact with Equifax to establish the facts including how many people in the United Kingdom have been affected and what kind of personal data may have been compromised".

The complaint alleges that Equifax's wrongful conduct includes failing to take adequate and reasonable measures to ensure its data systems were protected, failing to take available steps to prevent and stop the breach from ever happening, failing to disclose the material facts that it did not have adequate computer systems and security practices to safeguard consumers' financial and personal data, and failing to provide timely and adequate notice of the data breach.

"Let's say you're a Canadian applying for a mortgage in the US for your cottage..." A credit reporting company must lift a freeze no later than three business days after getting your request. Many have chose to take precautions and put their credit on ice: a credit freeze.

It does cost $5 in OH to freeze your file, and $5 to "thaw" it if you're applying for a loan or credit card.

"Ask your credit card issuer to give you a new credit card number".

The credit reporting companies, as well as the company that reports the information about you, will need to correct erroneous information.

"Regardless of whether you're affected or not, I recommend freezing your credit report".

But not every bureau has an identical set of financial information on every person, which accounts for even more variability in credit scores.

A freeze takes your credit report out of circulation.

With millions of people feeling vulnerable after the hack and scrambling to secure their most important information, getting a credit freeze has been more hard than usual in the past few days.

Equifax is under serious fire not only for the breach, but for its responses since then. He also said other companies offer similar services. 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.

A spokeswoman for the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, which is the central agency in Canada, that collects identification theft complaints and other related matters, has not received any complaints in connection with the Equifax hack.

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