by Barbara Nevins Taylor
The Equifax hack may affect you because the company’s latest audit shows that the first count was off by 2.5 million people. Forensic investigators hired by Equifax now say thieves stole personal information, including Social Security numbers, of 145.5 million people, not 143 million in the U.S., as the company originally reported on September 7, 2017.
So what you do?
Go to the website Equifax set up to try to provide answers to people the hack affects.
They changed their policy and will now let you know immediately whether the hack may affect you. A screen will come up that tells you.
Then, if the hack affects you, they ask you to enroll in the Equifax TrustedID Premier program. That provides:
A copy of your Equifax credit report
Equifax Credit Report lock, which allows you to lock your credit report so that no one can enquire about it, “with certain exceptions,” they say.
$1 million in identity theft protection in the event someone steals your identity. They say this helps pay for “out-of-pocket” expenses.
Social Security number scanning that searches suspicious websites for mention of your Social Security number.
In the meantime, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group has called for Congress to pass a law to would make sure all consumers in every state have the ability to freeze their credit reports for free.
You can get free credit freezes only in Indiana, Maine, North Carolina and South Carolina. In some states, victims of identity theft can get free credit freezes.
U.S. Public Interest Research Group’s Consumer Advocate Mike Litt says, “Free freezes are important because you need to pay fees to all three credit bureaus to be sure all the doors to your credit report are closed to identity theft.”
Two bills in the Senate and one in the House contain provisions to offer free credit freezes in every state. But those in Congress need to hear from consumers who want the protection, especially now.
Here’s how to get in touch with your U.S. Senator.
Here’s how to get in touch with your U.S. Representative.