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Watching for criminal activity on accounts after Equifax hack

17 September 2017

There's a really good chance you are one of almost 143-million people nationwide affected by Equifax's recent data breach.

Since the announcement of the cyberattack - which compromised Social Security numbers, driver's license numbers, credit card numbers and addresses - Equifax shares have fallen more than 30 percent.

If you'd rather contact Equifax by phone, dial 1-800-349-9960. They should be wary of unsolicited calls or email that say they are related to the breach and that ask to confirm or enter personal information.

Equifax is now offering a 30-day credit freeze.

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There are literally hundreds of smaller consumer-reporting companies operating in the US and the smaller ones are collecting information you might not expect. A fraud alert warns creditors that you may be an identity theft victim and that they should verify that anyone seeking credit in your name really is you.

They also suggest that even if the web tool that Equifax has offered suggests you weren't impacted, its better to be safe than sorry. The thing that makes this hack unique, Cronin said, is that Equifax isn't someone you give your information to - they get it from an outside agency - like a bank - who is pulling your credit report, so they likely already have your information and you might as well take advantage of the free service they're offering.

Consumers finding that their personal data may have been exposed in the massive Equifax cyberattack might be surprised to learn how many companies have access to different bits of their personal information.

You can not get a loan, a store credit card, possibly not even rent an apartment if they need to check your credit report. You may be among the millions of people whose financial records may have been stolen and that includes your social security number.

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"Yes you should", says CBS News business analyst Jill Schlesinger. Run your credit report at www.annualcreditreport.com as soon as possible so you have a current look at your credit file. If you are a victim of identity theft, Minnesota law allows you to place a credit freeze for free.

"However, in light of the intense public interest and the potential impact of this matter, I can confirm that FTC staff is investigating the Equifax data breach".

It seems the only thing Equifax has done right so far, is finally removing their charge to freeze your credit report. An emailed statement from the credit-monitoring agency said the executives "had no knowledge" of the breach beforehand.

She says in addition to putting a fraud alert or a freeze on your credit bureau account, you need to start checking your other financial accounts on a regular basis, which means your credit cards, checking and savings accounts.

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Watching for criminal activity on accounts after Equifax hack