Equifax data breach: Are you affected? Find out here

Are you among the 143 million people, or 44 percent of the U.S. population, whose personal information was stolen in a massive data breach at credit reporting agency Equifax?

You can find out in seconds at a company website here.

“The Equifax breach affecting over 140 million Americans appears to be the largest of its kind and is beyond troubling,” said Mike Litt, consumer advocate with the U.S. Public Interest Research Group. “The types of stolen information, including social security numbers and dates of birth, can be used to commit new account identity theft against all of these people. Additionally, stolen credit cards affecting over 200,000 people in this breach can also be used to commit existing account identity theft.”

Especially if you are among those affected, Litt recommended putting a credit “freeze” on all three major credit bureaus. That does not prevent all fraud but it makes it harder for someone to open new credit in your name, though you may have to unfreeze to establish new credit such as a car loan. Another option is a credit monitoring service, which Equifax is offering free for a limited time.

New York’s attorney general has raised questions about whether accepting the credit monitoring means customers give up their rights to join a class-action lawsuit and must take arbitration instead. Company officials said arbitration applies only to monitoring services, not the data breach, according to published reports.

Equifax is facing at least 23 lawsuits over the breach by consumers seeking class-action status, USA Today reported.

 

 

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