Equifax said Thursday that 143 million people could be affected by a recent data breach in which cybercriminals stole information including names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses, and the numbers of some driver's licenses.
143 Million people - roughly half of the country. Hackers also stole credit card numbers for about 209,000 consumers and dispute documents with personal identifying information for about 182,000 consumers.
Canada's privacy commissioner has said it has prioritized an examination into the hack to ensure that Canadians' information are protected by future risks.
Freezing your credit is the one move you need to make after the Equifax breach - but the credit bureaus aren't always making it easy.
One thing that Clark doesn't want you to do is call the Equifax help line listed on the company's data breach website. Stock trader Ken Polcari, director of the NYSE floor division at O'Neil Securities in NY, said the shares are sinking because of Equifax's poor handling of a awful breach.
Cohen Milstein's Andrew N. Friedman brings unparalleled experience to this Equifax class action.
Wired: The Equifax Breach Exposes America's Identity Crisis - "The personal security situation on the internet as it stands now is certainly fraught, but it would be possible for organizations to implement strong and diverse authentication factors that cut down on the dramatic exposure that currently exists with SSNs". Initially, it also wanted consumers to waive their right to sue the company in return for the service.More news: Lara & Eric Trump Welcome Baby Boy
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Or, the likeliest possibility: nothing at all happens, but in a year when the free term expires, we'll feel compelled to start paying $20 a month to renew Equifax's security blanket or sign up for LifeLock.
Damages awarded in small claims courts differ from state to state, with Tennessee offering the highest amount: $25,000.
The Canadian breach may have impacted names, addresses and social insurance numbers, Equifax added. That is an insult to the millions of individuals who will be impacd.
"If there is a breach and you're concerned about identity theft, credit monitoring is not the most effective measure", Chi Chi Wu, a lawyer with the National Consumer Law Center, told NBC News.
The BBB says even before this breach more than 6 billion records have been stolen this year. That argues for greater regulation and an overhaul of the entire credit-bureau system. Using the "freeze" option does not protect your personal information but will protect your credit if someone tries to access it. A credit freeze will prevent anyone from accessing your credit report or scores.
Beware of scammers who may purport to be from the retailer, your bank, or your credit card issuer, telling you that your card was compromised and suggesting actions to "fix" the problem.
Despite having to answer questions before Congress or maybe settle a consolidated class-action lawsuit for $10 million or $20 million several years in the future, it's unlikely Congress would pass any laws that make life hard for Equifax or the other two major USA data brokers - Experian and TransUnion.