Equifax Melts Down Under Surge of Angry Consumers

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'The biggest data breach we've ever seen': What you need to know about Equifax

Hackers broke into the credit reporting company's computers and stole key personal data, including names, addresses, birthdays, Social Security numbers and some credit card numbers from 143 million Americans.

The credit monitoring company's call centre staff say that Canadians who have Equifax accounts in the US could be at risk of having their data compromised, such as those who have lived, worked or applied for credit south of the border. Equifax should be required to provide the credit monitoring service in perpetuity.

If you do find out that someone has created a new account in your name, you'll have to prove that you didn't open the account and you might have to clear bad debt information from your credit report.

Consider freezing your credit reports. 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.

The company also recommends that you review account statements and credit reports yourself to check for incidents of fraud.

Make sure to stay updated on your accounts, so you know right away if anything was changed, or added.

Warner wrote in his letter that Equifax's actions after disclosing the hack "also raise serious concerns about the company's data security practices".

The information includes Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some cases, driver's license and credit card numbers.

Equifax announced the move on Twitter in reply to a customer tweet - which has less visibility than a new standalone tweet and would only be seen by people reading the comment thread or following a link.

Iowans can check if the breach exposed their personal information at www.equifaxsecurity2017.com. For example, if you provide a telephone number, the business must call you to verify whether you are the person making the credit request.

When you freeze your credit file by phone or online, you'll receive a 10-digit PIN that must be provided if you ever want to unlock your file.

Do not contact the three nationwide credit reporting companies individually. The only people who wouldn't want to freeze their credit files are those who are activity pursuing a auto loan or mortgage or who plan to apply for a new credit card within days. On September 7, the website stated that my information was not impacted.

That's enough information to commit identity fraud on half the population of the country, but the criminal activity could turn out to be less troubling than what's legal.

There can be situations where inconsistencies or errors may be reported that could negatively affect your credit rating, and those need to be corrected.

Lynch is just one of many consumers feeling frustration with Equifax's response to the massive hack. He also said other companies offer similar services. It is providing free service for one year through TrustedID Premier - whether or not you've been affected by the breach.

Beware of scammers who may purport to be from the retailer, your bank, or your credit card issuer, telling you that your card was compromised and suggesting actions to "fix" the problem.

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