Equifax shares sink 10% as MA prepares lawsuit over breach

Jon Howard
September 14, 2017

Kilmartin is among a growing list of state attorneys general across the country coming together to investigate the cause and impact of the Equifax data breach, which experts have said could leave millions of Americans including New Englanders at risk of identify theft for years to come. Many have chose to take precautions and put their credit on ice: a credit freeze. Hackers or their customers could potentially open credit cards or other forms of credit in someone else's name but change the home addresses on the accounts so that it's hard for us to detect. So it's not a great idea if you're shopping for a home or an auto loan.

Check your credit reports from Equifax, Experian and TransUnion by visiting annualcreditreport.com.

The security breach at Equifax, one of the three largest credit bureaus in the United States, compromised sensitive and private details of 143 million customers, which accounts for 44% of the USA population.

What is a credit freeze?

A credit freeze limits who can see your credit report information. This will prevent anyone from opening additional new accounts in your name. It doesn't damage your credit or stop your credit report from evolving by your own actions.

People hear about scams and ID theft and that those who obtain your information can fraudulently open credit cards. This can be done temporarily, either for a set time or for a particular party, like a landlord or lender.

- Consider a credit freeze.

If you're a resident of certain states - like ME or SC - it's free.

Make sure you protect your customers' data. Some of these scores are tabulated by the bureaus themselves, and others are calculated by third parties based on the information the bureaus provide. In some cases, the creditor may also ask for a police report, which you must file with local law enforcement first.

As the magnitude of the Equifax hack sinks in, more people are realizing they've been victimized and cyber security specialists are being inundated with calls and questions about what to do next.

How is it different from fraud alerts or other credit monitoring?

Like everyone else with a credit card, my data was among that stolen from the ginormous Equifax credit reporting company. If you freeze it, it isn't as valuable.

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You will be able to catch errors and get them corrected quickly so that your score remains high.

In fact, taking six weeks to notify victims is common and often warranted.

"We need to hold Equifax accountable, and other companies that compromise our information", said Brown. "The problem is that it is incomplete protection and it only lasts for a year".

If someone tried to open a new credit card in your name, it can be spotted through monitoring.

Your ability to access credit will play a very important part in your financial stability throughout your entire life.

What should you do if you've been unable to place a credit freeze online? But there is a fee these credit agencies charge for you to do so.

One of the steps that media outlets are suggesting is to put a credit freeze on your personal files at each of the credit agencies.

You should hear from the agencies in about 30 days on how they are handling the dispute, Wu said.

Check with the website of the company that was breached for the latest information.

That would generate a US credit file for the consumer, he said.

Experian's website simply says, "Loading". That way, they can see nearly immediately that the charge has been processed.

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