By exploiting a website application vulnerability, hackers gained access to certain information such as names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses, and in some instances, driver's license numbers and credit card numbers.
Still, they want everybody to sign up for their credit file monitoring and identity theft protection with TrustedID Premier, a credit monitoring service that is also operated by Equifax. On Monday, the company said it had backed away from that requirement.
Attorney Roy Hadley said the company took an unusually long time to notify the public of such a major breach, possibly because it was asked to delay notice by law enforcement officials investigating the incident.
Calling Equifax has yielded mixed results, and it remains somewhat unclear how to best tell whether you were one of the millions put at risk by the company.
In basic terms, freezing your credit means placing restrictions on who can view your credit report. Often, victims of identity theft can freeze their credit at no charge.
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Meanwhile, the implied volatility spread between Equifax's stock and an exchange-traded fund tracking the benchmark S&P 500 has risen to the highest in more than six years.
"We are engaged in a process that will provide consumers a randomly generated PIN". That restricts access to your credit information, which makes it more hard for hackers to open accounts in your name. You are allowed a free copy once a year from each of the three credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.
"Will we be reimbursed for having to pay for credit freezes?" one consumer wrote to Equifax on Twitter "I did 4 over the weekend, I do not think that I should have to pay for it!" Others expressed frustration that three senior executives sold about $1.8 million in stock in the days following the discovery of the hack. If someone else goes to take out a loan in your name, the lender will not be able to pull your report and therefore can not extend the credit. "I can also use it to try to con somebody else". Credit bureaus like Equifax are lightly regulated compared to other parts of the financial system. The company discovered the hack on July 29 and publicly announced it more than a month later on Thursday.
But even in that case, Equifax is not offering the credit monitoring service until next week at the earliest. It partly comes from the industry practice of mandatory arbitration, in which the fine print on many financial products says customers have to use a private third-party arbitration service in order to resolve their disputes.
"Over a third of Montanans, a lot of them adults, have been affected by this very significant data breach", Mattioli said. Taking some or all of the steps above also can not fully guarantee that you will never experience any form of identity theft, but you will be more aware of potential problems before they become larger ones.
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