On heels of Equifax breach, Dems

Consumer talking on the telephone

Consumer talking on the telephone

Equifax, one of the three major nationwide credit reporting agencies, recently announced a serious data breach that could impact millions of Washington consumers.

So almost half of American's personal data is now in the hands of criminals, "What we've seen here is the most outrageous, the most egregious example of a company not doing what it needs to do when it comes to protecting consumer information", said Maura Healey, Massachusetts Attorney General.

Equifax says the information accessed in this breach includes names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some instances, driver's license numbers.

Investigation into the data breach, which compromised the personal information of up to 143 million people, is being handled by the Federal Trade Commission. When you sign up with one credit bureau, they'll alert the other two. It is important to note that a consumer does not need to have used Equifax for their data to be exposed to these hackers. "Don't tell them anything", Lisa Weintraub Schifferle, an attorney with the FTC's Division of Consumer and Business Education, wrote on the department's website.

Experts also recommend that you regularly monitor your other financial accounts including credit cards, checking accounts, savings accounts and any others. A credit freeze makes it hard to open new accounts in your name.

Equifax is providing free credit monitoring, but a term on its website said if you sign up for it, you'd waive your right to sue them in the future - now, the clause has been removed. After a breach, a scammer may commit tax identity theft by using your Social Security number to file a tax return and steal your tax refund.

-Keep a close eye on your credit cards, bank statements and credit report.

MA joins New York, Pennsylvania and CT in investigating how Equifax got hacked. This is going to last way longer than that, so your next step is you add a free fraud alert to any of the big major companies. If you want to open new credit, you will have to lift, or thaw, the credit freeze by contacting the credit reporting agencies.

Credit bureau staff will review your report with you.

The Nebraska Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division is warning over 700,000 Nebraska consumers who may by impacted by the massive security breach at Equifax, Inc.to take steps to protect their identities. But if you are really anxious about your credit being misused, this works.

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