Below are four steps to take following Equifax's data breach. The company discovered the hack on July 29 and publicly announced it more than a month later on Thursday. All hacked. We're talking names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses, driver's license numbers.
You may not be charged a fee if you can prove that you're a victim of identity theft.
"As a larger company, Equifax most likely spent a lot of money, time and resources securing their customer data, and yet they still fell victim to a massive attack", said Steve Groom, director of cyberdefense at managed-services provider Proficio Inc.
It should be noted that banks and financial institutions rely on the United States' three main consumer credit reporting agencies - Equifax, TransUnion (TRU - Free Report) and Experian. Some credit card information was also put at risk. You must submit your last name and last six digits of your Social Security number there. The lawsuit said the agency failed to safeguard consumer information and didn't provide timely notice of the breach, which occurred as early as May of 2017.
Still, they want everybody to sign up for their credit file monitoring and identity theft protection with TrustedID Premier, a credit monitoring service that is also operated by Equifax. You can sign up at the same site listed above, and the deadline to do so is November 21.
Beware of scammers who may purport to be from the retailer, your bank, or your credit card issuer, telling you that your card was compromised and suggesting actions to "fix" the problem. Several politicians and consumer groups have criticized this provision.
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You do not need to be a customer of Equifax to have been affected by the breach, experts say more than 50% of American's have been impacted. Some lawyers have said they may file securities fraud lawsuits over the share price decline.
Go to each of the three major national credit bureaus and freeze your credit.
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. At that point you'll be given a date when you can return to the site and sign up for the service.