Rhode Island joins U.S. states investigating Equifax data breach

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Equifax, the largest consumer credit reporting bureau in the United States, has been hacked, leaving almost half the country's population - roughly 143 million - vulnerable to identity theft. Security experts say the scale of the breach - half of all US adults may be impacted - once and for all burns Social Security numbers as identifiers, and leaves all victims at elevated risk of identity theft (see Equifax Breach: 8 Takeaways).

Consider putting a credit freeze or fraud alert on your credit reports with the three major credit reporting agencies (go.bbb.org/creditfreeze).

A credit freeze aims to block anyone from opening new accounts in your name.

A credit freeze, which is also called a security freeze, locks down your credit and can only be lifted with a personal identification number (PIN) that you receive when you enroll.

Make sure to stay updated on your accounts, so you know right away if anything was changed, or added.

Still, despite the breach, there are things in your control and the Better Business Bureau Serving Central California & Inland Empire Counties (BBB) offers up the following suggestions for consumers concerned that their credit or debit cards may have been compromised by a data breach. The information accessed included names, Social Security numbers, birth dates and addresses. Mr. Friedman continued, "We look forward to getting swift justice for the people that Equifax so wantonly harmed".

Members of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee yesterday sent a letter to Equifax chairman and CEO Richard F. "Rick" Smith asking for a detailed timeline of the breach and more information about what the company is doing to "identify and limit potential consumer harm". But when you're not looking to take out any loans or open any lines of credit, it can be a financial lifesaver. To avoid difficulties that could be caused by a freeze, he recommended that people first obtain credit reports and sign up for monitoring before requesting to freeze their files.

But even that doesn't totally protect your information since your data isn't fully frozen until it is on ice at all three credit bureaus. The only people who wouldn't want to freeze their credit files are those who are activity pursuing a vehicle loan or mortgage or who plan to apply for a new credit card within days.

The website will also provide you with a recovery plan after you submit the information. Losing control over 143 million Social Security numbers, and their associated identity information, is far, far worse. "A credit freeze is". You can place an alert on your report for free by contacting one of the credit agencies, which is required to notify the other two. Experian, for example, has suffered more than 100 data breaches in recent years, and one of its subsidiaries sold data to a Vietnamese ID theft ring that committed fraud on a massive sale.

Equifax announced to the public on Thursday that a "cybersecurity incident" had exposed the personal information of approximately 143 million Americans. Several readers said they received error messages there, too, when they tried to get a copy of their report. If it does then they charge huge amounts. In some states, including OH, consumers must pay $5 to Equifax for the privilege of locking down their credit file so that no loan or credit card accounts can be opened.

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