What You Need to Know About the Equifax Data Breach

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You can request a copy of your credit report online at www.annualcreditreport.com. Data revealed included Social Security numbers, addresses, driver's license data, and birth dates.

Consumer advocates pointed out that Equifax's terms of use for the credit-monitoring service it's offering free for one year required the breach victims to sign away their legal rights.

Equifax is based in that city, and the court handled nationwide litigation over a 2014 breach at Atlanta-based Home Depot Inc affecting more than 50 million cardholders.

"The Equifax breach has potentially exposed sensitive personal information of almost everyone with a credit report, and my office intends to get to the bottom of how and why this massive hack occurred", he said.

Sometimes credit report freezes get offered for free.

You'll be directed to a screen that lists the steps of the process. Here are the links to freeze your credit at Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.

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Equifax, the global credit rating firm, publicly acknowledged its systems had been compromised and user information had been stolen. Those are what John Ulzheimer, an independent credit consultant who previously worked at Equifax, called "the crown jewels of personal information". To make things even worse, credit card numbers for approximately 209,000 US consumers, and certain dispute documents with personal identifying information for approximately 182,000 USA consumers, were pilfered. This prevents any new accounts from being opened in your name while the freeze is in effect unless you provide a designated 10-digit PIN. The same banks that furnish much of the bureaus' credit data also use it to make lending decisions. Each bureau may charge you a fee, and those fees may vary depending on which state you live in. This means that a lender must contact you to verify your identity before it issues credit in your name.

For those with a mathematical bent, Mark Stockley, founder of the web consultancy Compound Eye and a writer for Sophos's Naked Security blog, calculated the statistical challenge facing any attacker who wanted to brute-force unlock a frozen Equifax credit report.

Amanda Werner of the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen said Equifax changed its policy in the face of public pressure.

The chairmen of at least two U.S. House committees say they want to hold hearings.

After news of the breach became public, it was revealed that three senior executives at Equifax, including the company's chief financial officer, sold nearly $2 million worth of the company's shares just days after it learned of the hack.

Several state attorneys general have also said they would investigate, including those from New York, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. The unauthorized access occurred between mid-May and July 2017, and was discovered on July 29 - the company just announced it last week. Days later, three senior managers including Chief Financial Officer John Gamble sold stock worth nearly $1.8 million.

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