Personal info exposed in Equifax hack? Here’s what to do now

Posted: Updated:
EDISON -

There are more security problems this week at Equifax. First, the credit agency was hacked. Then, in trying to fix the situation, the company sent consumers to a fake website.

Are you among the 143 million people whose personal information was exposed? 

“People have to immediately freeze their credit,” consumer attorney Carl Mayer said.

Mayer said the free crediting monitoring that Equifax is offering isn’t good enough because by the time consumers are notified of fraudulent activity, it could be too late to take action.

“Criminals can take your Social Security number. (They) can take your driver’s license, and they can start applying for credit cards, for mortgages, for tax refunds, for all these things in your name. And the way to prevent that is with a credit freeze,” he said.

Here's how a credit freeze works:

  • All three credit agencies - Equifax, Experian and Transunion – must be contacted and enact a freeze.
  • Once a person’s credit is frozen, no one can pull that individual’s credit report. 
  • At that point, no one can get new credit in that person’s name – including the consumer.
  • If the consumer wants to apply for a new loan or credit card, the person will have to temporarily unfreeze his credit – which involves a small fee each time it’s done.

Equifax has also come under fire for sending consumers to a fake website to check whether their information was stolen as part of the hack. The real website is EquifaxSecurity2017.com.

The fake site had a similar address, but it was set up by a developer who said he didn’t steal anyone’s information. He said he just wanted to show how vulnerable the system remains.

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