AG urges proactive response to Equifax hack

Up to 143 million customers personal data is believed to have been compromised following a data breach at credit report provider Equifax. Justin Lane  EPA

Consumers have rushed to put these "freezes" on their credit report following the massive Equifax breach that exposed the data on over 143 million Americans, about half the total USA population. Among the steps Equinox said it has taken are changes to ensure random PIN generation for users requesting security freezes, ramped-up call center support to reduce call wait time, improved security links from its Web site, and reversal of a policy that would have automatically charged customers seeking free credit monitoring for renewal of its TrustedID Premier service after one year. Consider enrolling in a credit monitoring and theft protection service.

Just as data brokers such as Experian gather information on consumers, in this case to help other businesses judge their credit-worthiness, cybercrime groups also gather information on consumers, and use these types of breaches to improve the information they already hold on any given consumer. It will not prevent a thief from using any of your existing accounts, but a credit freeze makes it harder for someone to open a new account in your name.

Until the Equifax Inc. hack, many consumers didn't know what a credit freeze was.

In the chaos of a data breach, every company possesses an important aspect of the remediation process that it can control - how it chooses to communicate with the public and those affected by the breach. Equifax was in a unique position because it did not have an agreement with the people whose information it carried.




It can also put a crimp in those spur-of-the-moment store credit offers where you get a percentage off your purchase for signing up on the spot. As Lifehacker's Kristin Wong points out, however, a freeze can not stop a thief from charging an existing line of credit. "It was a full-on investigation with the postal service inspector and all three credit bureaus".

If you see a fraudulent charge, report it to your bank or credit card issuer immediately so the charge can be reversed and a new card issued. "It'll typically cost you about $10 to implement one, but it is pretty easy to do through bureau websites or on the phone, and it can be quite effective", CreditCards.com analyst Matt Schulz told NBC News in an email. Losing control over 143 million Social Security numbers, and their associated identity information, is far, far worse. This means you can not apply for new credit without lifting the freeze.

What should you do if you've been unable to place a credit freeze online? "Hackers are resourceful criminals who are constantly looking to exploit any vulnerabilities, and I encourage everyone to educate themselves about how to best protect their personal information".

Once all of the information is obtained and reviewed, the credit reporting agency will send you a written report and a free copy of your credit report, showing the corrections. Experian, for example, has suffered more than 100 data breaches in recent years, and one of its subsidiaries sold data to a Vietnamese ID theft ring that committed fraud on a massive sale. These companies play a huge role in our lives, but they simply aren't accountable, and are often unavailable, to consumers at all.

Related news:

Hot News

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Mnuchin Says Tax Overhaul May Be Backdated to Start of the Year
Sep 13, 2017 - 00:19
House Speaker Paul Ryan made similar remarks last week when discussing tax reform and said "the numbers are hard" to achieve a 15 percent rate.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top How Apple TV 4K could outpace competition from Roku, Amazon and more
Sep 13, 2017 - 00:17
The Apple TV 4K will be powered by the Apple Fusion A10X chipset which was found in the earlier generation Apple iPad Pro units. Cue also revealed that the Apple TV app, now only available in the United States is to begin to roll out in other markets.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Saudi Arabia Seems Open to Expanding Products' Cut
Sep 13, 2017 - 00:15
It is forecast to weaken to a tropical storm over northern Florida or southern Georgia later on Monday. Irma made a landfall in Florida on Sunday and is barreling through the state to the northwest.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top On single-payer, the Democratic floodgates have opened
Sep 13, 2017 - 00:08
Sheldon Whitehouse , and Oregon's Jeff Merkley joined the growing group shortly after Booker on Monday afternoon. The Vermont independent nearly stole the Democratic presidential nomination from Hillary Clinton past year .

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Stranded manatees rescued in Sarasota before Irma hits
Sep 12, 2017 - 00:20
A man named Michael Sechler wrote on Facebook that he and his friends spotted two manatees stranded near Sarasota. Yet "we couldn't just let those manatees die out there", Tony Faradini-Campos tells the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Montanans affected by Equifax breach, state says
Sep 12, 2017 - 00:20
Originally, when consumers signed up for the free year, they waived their right to legal action against the company . The stock has shed more than 20 percent of its value since Wednesday, the day before Equifax announced the breach.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top US Supreme Court keeps tight refugee ban in place
Sep 12, 2017 - 00:20
An appeals court earlier restricted Donald Trump's effort to temporarily bar most refugees to enter the soil of United States. The travel ban bars people from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from entering the US.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Google begins European Union showdown to appeal £2.2bn record fine
Sep 12, 2017 - 00:17
The company has submitted plans on how it plans to stop favouring its shopping service and these are now being reviewed by Brussels .

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll 'surprised' by poor offensive line play
Sep 12, 2017 - 00:17
But like all great quarterbacks , Aaron Rodgers found a way to figure out the Seahawks defense just enough to get the win. Rookie Chris Carson showed that he could be explosive by running on the edge for a 15 yard gain, but that was about it.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Alabama Native Named Third Runner Up In Miss America
Sep 12, 2017 - 00:17
In the competition's 97-year history, Mund is the first person to win the title from her home state. Mund took over the title from last year's victor , Miss Arkansas, Savvy Shields.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Xiaomi's Mi Notebook Pro takes on Apple's Macbook
Sep 12, 2017 - 00:14
The laptop is powered by 8th generation Intel Core i7 processor clocked at 4GHz, and there is an Intel Core i5 variant as well. The Core i7 processor and 16GB RAM variant will feature a pricing of 6999 Chinese Yuan ($1074 or Rs. 68,630 approx).

Fans: victory at Browns home opener came off the field, not on
Sep 11, 2017 - 00:25
That's when Watt came up with a huge play, intercepting Kizer and returning it 17 yards. Kizer completed 20 of 30 passes for 222 yards, one touchdown and an interception.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Hillary Clinton, in interview, reflects on 'very painful' loss
Sep 11, 2017 - 00:20
However, Clinton added she was not finished with politics entirely because our "future is at stake". She then weighed in on Trump's speech, calling it "a cry from the white nationalist gut".

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Penn State's James Franklin throws shade that's sure to fuel Pitt rivalry
Sep 11, 2017 - 00:18
Last year, the Nittany Lions dropped only two games in the regular season before falling to USC in the Rose Bowl. That's what Pitt did a year ago after starting the renewal of the rivalry with a 42-39 victory at Heinz Field.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top FPL: We will not shut down power to customers
Sep 11, 2017 - 00:14
It has already reported numerous outages in places including Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. FPL is the biggest power company in Florida serving nearly half of the state's 20.6 million residents.