California Attorney General Issues Consumer Alert Following Equifax Data Breach

ILLUSTRATION- A man uses the illuminated keyboard of a laptop the monitor of which is open to a hacking program in Rottweil Germany 12 November 2016

University data was not part of Equifax data breach; OIS provides useful links

You're entitled to get a free copy of your credit report from each of the three big agencies once every 12 months.

Equifax's security lapse could be the largest theft involving Social Security numbers, one of the most common methods used to confirm a person's identity in the U.S. The data breach is especially damaging to Equifax, since its entire business revolves around being a secure storehouse and providing a clear financial profile of consumers that lenders and other businesses can trust.

Equifax is based in that city, and the court handled nationwide litigation over a 2014 breach at Atlanta-based Home Depot Inc affecting more than 50 million cardholders.

In addition to this, as per Equifax's investigation, hackers accessed the credit card numbers of about 209,000 USA consumers and "certain dispute documents with personal identifying information" of almost 182,000 US consumers. The only other entities that are allowed to see your credit report at this point are government agencies carrying out a search warrant or subpoena, and yourself, if you're trying to access the free credit report that is entitled to you once per year per credit bureau.

You'll be directed to a screen that lists the steps of the process. This means you can not apply for new credit without lifting the freeze.

The unauthorized access occurred between mid-May and July, but no suspicious activity has been found in the company's core credit-reporting databases, Chief Executive Officer Richard Smith said in a video on Equifax's website.

"Nearly everyone with a credit report", had their personal information potentially exposed following a data breach.

In addition, hackers got more detailed information from consumers who were already challenging information on their credit reports, said McConville. You probably wouldn't use that bank ever again. WalletHub.com suggested using "suppression/blocking" to clean your reports of negative, inaccurate marks caused by identity theft.

"Frozen credit files can't be accessed by creditors, which should stop thieves who stole your identity during the breach from taking out a line of credit in your name".

Outsized trading in Equifax put options is also manifesting itself in myriad other ways.

Freezing your credit comes with a $5 to $10 charge for each credit bureau. To do so, you'll need a PIN that your credit bureau gave you when you enabled the freeze.

Corporate culture could also be a factor. But for Australian businesses, it's a powerful reminder that it's time to get your breach notification house in order.

Congress, and regulators like the attorneys general of NY and IL, are also probing the breach.

Lastly the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the nation's watchdog entity for financial issues, says it has the authority to investigate the data breach, and fine and sanction Equifax if warranted. While the company's investigation is substantially complete, it remains open and is expected to be completed in coming weeks, Equifax said.

Equifax said the breach affected approximately 143 million people.

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