How to know if you were affected by the Equifax breach

The Best Shield For Protecting Your Identity? Try Adopting 4 New Habits

Equifax said on September 7 that the breach had exposed data of as many as 143 million USA consumers.

And it's just the latest hack.

"Gain instant access to comprehensive credit data", the company's website offers business customers, promising "the data reliability and currency that Equifax is known for". The information accessed included names, Social Security numbers, birth dates and addresses.

"This is a goldmine of information for a thief", said Chi Chi Wu, an attorney at the National Consumer Law Center. Most have come up with new layers of security, for example, you can get an alert when a check over a thousand dollars cashes. Unfortunately, the chatbot can't show up in court a few weeks later to argue your case for you either. Equifax should be required to provide the credit monitoring service in perpetuity.

Likely due to the ostensible carelessness of Equifax, the highly suspicious timing of their stock sales, and the apparently underhanded helping hand lent to customers, Browder says he hopes to get people as much money as possible. You are allowed a free copy once a year from each of the three credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.

To enroll, go to and click on the Check Potential Impact tab.

First of all, don't panic. So they have some of the most sensitive information about Americans' financial lives — all of it a trove for identity theft.

Equifax is one of three nationwide credit-reporting companies that track and rate the financial history of USA consumers. It will stop thieves from creating new fraudulent accounts under your name.

Credit reporting company Equifax Inc. corporate offices are
Credit reporting company Equifax Inc. corporate offices are

Not that the bot helps you do anything you can't already do yourself, which is filling out a bunch of forms - you still have to serve them yourself. It doesn't ask for any other documents or even your Social Security number, said John Krebs, an attorney at the Federal Trade Commission.

At that point you'll receive a message telling you whether you've been impacted by the hack.

A freeze takes your credit report out of circulation. This will prevent anyone from opening additional new accounts in your name. He says it's a good idea to freeze your credit immediately. There are usually fees to freeze and unfreeze that vary by state, but generally range between $5 and $10. If you're not planning to buy a auto, a house, take out a loan anytime soon or open a card at Nordstrom, freeze your credit so no more accounts can be opened in your name. This will require creditors to take additional steps to verify your identity before issuing credit. It will last for 90 days and can be renewed. But after you fill out the identity theft report online, you can request an extended fraud alert that stays on your credit report for seven years. But you have no control over that account. "They'll work with all three credit bureaus and freeze your credit". But you can opt out of that provision if you notify the company in writing within 30 days.

Once you've cleared up the situation, remain vigilant.

"We are devoting extraordinary resources to make sure this kind of incident doesn't happen again", Smith said.

Keep a close eye on all your statements.

Place a fraud alert on your credit reports, as this provides an extra layer of protection and would make it hard for an identity thief to open an account in your name Fraud alerts are free and stay on your report for 90 days.

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