Everyone is at risk, but consumers with less financial literacy-and fewer financial resources to absorb any resulting losses-are even more so. As many as 143 million people may have been affected by the breach, but as of September 12, as Quartz's Karen Hao reported, only 15 million people-a mere 10% of potential victims-had visited the Equifax website to see if they were affected. Anyone can check their own credit histories at www.annualcreditreport.com, which is required to be offered by the federal government.
Credit card numbers for about 209,000 Americans and "certain dispute documents with personal identifying information" for some 182,000 Americans were also accessed by the hackers, it adds.
Atlanta-based Equifax recently announced that as many as 143 million people were exposed when hackers exploited a website application to access files earlier this year.
The alert requires lenders to contact you to determine if any new credit application they receive is valid or fraudulent. "Plain and simple, the personal data that Equifax stockpiles impact numerous most important decisions in the lives of MA residents".
Terry W. Clemans, executive director of the National Consumer Reporting Association, told me that given the extent of the data theft at Equifax, "there's bound to be a lot of damage" to all types of credit users, including those seeking to finance, buy and sell houses.
"The Information Commissioner's Office have been pressing the firm to establish the scale of any impact on United Kingdom citizens and have also been engaging with relevant U.S. and United Kingdom agencies about the nature of the data breach".
There are other credit-monitoring services available from the other two bureaus, FICO and other companies, typically for a monthly or annual fee. Watch for accounts or loans or other activity that one did not initiate.
Without being able to run a credit report, most banks won't approve a new account.
How serious is the Equifax security breach? I've long felt uncomfortable with the amount of information that the three big credit agencies collect and store about consumers. You can write to each of the credit reporting agencies and explain the situation.
If you suspect you are being affected by identity theft, Consumer Reports recommends a number of steps, including letting your financial institutions know as soon as possible, closing compromised accounts and using the freezing and fraud alert tools previously noted. If a spy agency in China, North Korea or Russian Federation (the three most likely culprits in the Equifax breach) has this information, they could use it to infiltrate other accounts of targeted individuals, particularly those persons of interest in government agencies.
It's one of at least two class actions filed on behalf of Canadians whose information was stored on Equifax databases, alleging the company breached its contract with class members as well as their privacy rights, was negligent in handling their information, and breached provincial privacy statutes. Credit scores are used by lenders, insurers and employers to assess how people handle financial responsibilities. For example, if you notice that a new Discover credit card has been opened in your name, your first call should be to Discover.
Along with placing more power in the hands of consumers and strengthening fraud protections, the legislation-titled the Freedom from Equifax Exploitation (FREE) Act, which Warren introduced alongside Sen.