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Equifax Breach: Here's What You Need To Do

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Privacy Commissioner says priority given to examination of Equifax data hack

143 million Americans' personal and financial information has been exposed due to a breach of information from Equifax. And they were not happy about it.

You can get this online by going to http://www.ssa.gov/myacount.

Just as important, though, is the lesson this disaster provides for the myriad other companies and agencies responsible for keeping our private data safe. Once a consumer's credit report is frozen, the only person who can "thaw" it is the account holder, using a specially designated PIN code.

"We pride ourselves on being a leader in managing and protecting data, and we are conducting a thorough review of our overall security operations", said Richard Smith, Equifax chairman and chief executive, when the breach was revealed.

"As of Saturday, Sept. 9, we are waiving all charges for placing or removing a security freeze on an Equifax credit file during the enrollment period for the credit file monitoring and identity theft protection service we are offering for free to all USA consumers".

"Consumers and media have raised legitimate concerns about the services we offered and the operations of our call center and website". It was more than a month before the rest of us were told our data was hacked. I'm still waiting for replies.

Identity thieves like to test your card with small purchases to see if the fraudulent transaction goes through.

Bloomberg: The Category 5 Equifax Hurricane - "We just have to take a moment and let our collective jaws hang open in abject stupefaction".

It says the data breach is "contained, " and the Canadian breach may have involved names, addresses and social insurance numbers.

Once the application has been received, the agency will decide whether to approve your request for a new number. A credit freeze doesn't stop a thief from abusing existing bank, credit card or investment accounts.

It is not clear, however, exactly how consumers can do this. And in June of this year, Anthem agreed to pay $115 million to settle litigation over a 2015 hacking that compromised about 79 million people's personal information. It should not be that complicated. How can you protect yourself against this? The company sure seems to want people to sign up for that product instead of freezing their files.

"These lapses may potentially represent a systemic failure by firms now incentivized to collect and store highly sensitive identification and financial data for Americans", Warner said. But deep in the fine print of its terms and conditions contract, as well as the purpose-built site, it states that receiving help from the company may in turn legally waive their right to a lawsuit.

Equifax has warned, though, that credit card numbers for about 209,000 people were exposed in the breach, as was "personal identifying information" on roughly 182,000 customers involved in credit report disputes.

Consumers must place a freeze separately at each of the three credit bureaus - Experian, Equifax and TransUnion - and each may levy the fees.

I reached out to Adams to ask whether he would be resigning in the wake of the lackluster response to victims' outrage.

"No, but for the record I am considering dropping my NYT subscription and picking up the Wash Post!" was the reply.

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