How Equifax is getting off easy after being hacked by ID thieves

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The Equifax hack, in which the names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses, and driver's license numbers of 143 million people were exposed, may create a new normal in which protections previously viewed as cumbersome - like credit freezes - are now a valued line of defense. The upshot is hackers now have the most important pieces of identification for almost half the country. Many personal finance websites, such as NerdWallet, and some credit card issuers offer free scores and credit report information you can access anytime. Some of these scores are tabulated by the bureaus themselves, and others are calculated by third parties based on the information the bureaus provide.

If you opt for a temporary lift because you are applying for credit or a job, and you can find out which credit reporting company the business will contact for your file, you can save some money by lifting the freeze only at that particular company.

The Equifax data breach has affected 143 million U.S. customers.

Thirty-six US senators on Tuesday called on federal authorities to probe the sale of almost $2 million in Equifax shares by company executives in the days after the data breach.

"I can't imagine them doing something like that unless there's a legitimate systemic reason, like they don't want their sites to crash", wrote John Uhlzeimer, a consumer credit expert who worked at Equifax in the 1990s, in an email to NBC News.

Smith's USA Today apology doesn't reveal any new information of substance about the breach. The public backlash prompted Equifax to back off that brazen demand, but what happens after the year is up? That's because your data is the product that they sell to other people and companies. That is an insult to the millions of individuals who will be impacd. It is also offering free credit monitoring and identity theft protection for a year. As a result, the personal information of 78.8 million insured customers was stolen.

The problem is not going away. She also says great care should be used when sharing personal information online. That argues for greater regulation and an overhaul of the entire credit-bureau system.

Iowans also can visit, a website Equifax established to allow consumers to check if they're affected.

But the fact remains that there are three major credit reporting agencies-Equifax, TransUnion and Experian. Why not pay the other agencies to freeze credit?

Two class-action lawsuits have been filed on behalf of customers impacted by a massive breach at Equifax. "Where it is removed to will depend on several factors, but assuming there are a lot of these things that Equifax has to deal with, they will try to remove all of them to state-level or federal-level court, and consolidate them so they can litigate them all as a group".