What you need to know

The scope and sensitivity of the data stolen is alarming enough that every American should take immediate steps to safeguard their personal finances. If you need to apply for credit, you can temporarily lift the freeze, but it’s important to note that a credit freeze doesn’t ever expire – it stays in effect until you choose to remove it.

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey says she plans to sue Equifax after a data breach at the company affected up to almost 3 million state residents. “And odds are good that your info has been exposed“.

“I am troubled by this attack…and by the fact that it represents the third recent instance of a data breach of Equifax or its subsidiaries that has endangered American’s personal information”, Warren concluded.

It’s also worth mentioning that both of these actions can be used as precautionary measures as well if your identity has not yet been stolen, but you’re anxious that it might be in the future. Here’s what you should do.

“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”.

“It can take some time to understand the true impact of incidents like this, and we continue to investigate”.

Equifax said that two executives entrusted with watching over its computers are retiring, their departures coming after its maligned handling of a major hack at the credit reporting agency.

Warren sent letters Friday to Equifax as well as its competitors TransUnion and Experian.

It’s likely Canadians are the last to find out because the fewest number of them have been impacted, said Hasan Cavusoglu, an associate professor at the University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business.

Create a fraud alert.

In a nutshell, a credit freeze denies creditors access to your credit report, whether the inquiry is legitimate or not. “At that point, it would be an identity theft, and they’d have to work through the remediation efforts: contacting the credit agency, putting fraud alerts on their credit”. This ostensibly keeps fraudsters from opening new accounts in your name. Al Franken wants you to have more control over your personal information.

“The company was a victim of fraud and didn’t alert its consumers”, said Bethany Agnew-Americano, the lead plaintiff in a proposed class action filed in Ontario on September 12.

“The volume and sensitivity of the data potentially involved in this breach raises serious questions about whether firms like Equifax adequately protect the enormous amounts of sensitive data they gather and commercialize”.

The company named Mark Rohrwasser as interim chief information office and Russ Ayres as interim chief security officer. Since these accounts are generally not reported regularly to the credit bureaus, your only clue may be a credit inquiry from a utility provider. The information that was stolen has value in perpetuity, says Ulzheimer, so the risk will last. Consumer Reports says you can stop credit bureaus from selling your name to lenders by going to optoutprescreen.com or calling 888-567-8688. If you enroll, make sure to opt out of the service’s forced arbitration clause.

The breach occurred between mid-May and July, according to Equifax. Several class-action lawsuits have been filed.

The credit monitoring company’s call centre staff have told callers that only Canadians that have credit files in the USA were likely to be impacted. However, these are reactive and report only when a possible fake account has been opened.

Pennsylvania law allows credit agencies to charge people, except senior citizens, $10 for a credit freeze.

This content originally appeared on ValuePenguin.

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