How to protect your personal info after the Equifax data breach

Never give out any of your personal information to someone who has contacted you "regarding the Equifax breach" (or any other breach or circumstance, for that matter). Criminals gained access to sensitive data, including Social Security numbers, between May and July.

Because July 29 was a Saturday, it's possible that the three executives didn't know about the breach or its severity at the time they sold the stock, Jeff Meuler, a Robert W. Baird & Co. analyst, said Friday in an interview on Bloomberg Television.

Those exposed now have the potential to become victims of identity theft. Many consumers, and some experts are not happy about having to provide personal information to a company that has been hacked.

Customers' social security numbers, driving license numbers, dates of birth and addresses have all been stolen, while some customers lost credit card numbers and other personally identifiable information. "If you want a new job, get a new cell phone, get new insurance, they all check your credit".

If you see any unauthorized activity, immediately report it to your bank and/or credit card company. If you can, use authentication that requires two steps.

Sign up for 24/7 credit monitoring. Several politicians and consumer groups have criticized this provision. That's because the terms of service for the package of protections Equifax is offering affected consumers at no charge specifically bars customers from participating in class-action lawsuits.

There's some comfort in the fact that Silicon Valley's tech giants generally seem way more trustworthy than your typical credit reporting agencies, which have at times been comically hostile to the interests of consumers.

There are reports the site is has been down and it enrolls you in a free credit monitoring service owned by Equifax.

"It's a pretty extreme measure, but when 143 million people have been exposed like this, I think you have to take it", Ulzheimer said. But one way to stop those types of attempts from succeeding is by "freezing" your credit report, which means no entity can access it without your approval.

Freezes can be done online at the websites of the three credit reporting agencies - Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. But as a Plain Dealer article notes, that won't do much to protect the accounts you already have. A freeze remains until you remove it.

The fee varies by state, but Equifax charges most people about $5 to $10 to get a new PIN. But it's free for residents of some states, including Maine, New Jersey and SC. If someone else goes to take out a loan in your name, the lender will not be able to pull your report and therefore can not extend the credit.

Check your free credit reports. The report stays open and is updated to keep track of your debts, payments and other information. Additionally, when individuals went to check whether they were impacted by the breach, they were navigated to a new website, www.equifaxsecurity2017.com, rather than one hosted on the primary corporate site. That detail, which has gotten a little overblown in its rounds on social media, has inspired nearly as much anger as the hack itself. Consumers will have to take the time to place a freeze at each bureau separately. He says someone likely made a programming or configuration mistake.

Adding to Equifax's legal troubles is a proposed class action by customers affected by the breach.

  • Zachary Reyes