Published: Mon, September 11, 2017
Markets | By Noel Gibbs

Equifax hack: 'Sham' security check website is 'completely broken'

Equifax hack: 'Sham' security check website is 'completely broken'

First, see if you could be affected.

People are struggling to determine if they were impacted by the breach.

Atlanta-based Equifax said last week that among the over 140 million affected by the breach were an unidentified number of Canadians who suffered "unauthorized access to limited personal information" when criminals exploited a USA website application vulnerability to gain access to certain files. If you want to protect yourself from fraudulent borrowing, freeze your three major credit reports (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion).

Shey's estimate was just on what she calls measurable damages, such as regulatory fines, possible damages awarded by courts, new security and audit measures needed to be implemented and credit monitoring offered to victims. Equifax recently announced a data breach that could affect up to 143 million Americans.

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According to their press release, Equifax states that there is no evidence of unauthorized access to its core credit reporting databases, but is offering consumers identity monitoring services, which is run by Equifax, to all who wish to take advantage of it. Plans range in cost from $9.99 per month for coverage of up to $25,000 for stolen funds and monitoring one bureau, to $29.99 a month for coverage up to $1 million, beefed-up alerts and monitoring of the three big credit bureaus. With more information and details on you and your accounts, identity thieves are more likely to be successful in opening accounts in your name. Especially the poorly worded bit where Equifax seemed to offer users a look at whether they were hacked only if they waved their right to sue over the breach.

Be sure to regularly monitor your bank and credit card statements.

If someone gets a driver's license in your name and runs a red light or gets a speeding ticket, you're on the hook.

"There's a panoply of things Equifax will face", said Timothy Pestotnik, a San Diego lawyer who works on class actions and was involved in litigation against Toyota over unintended vehicle acceleration. The lawsuit claims Equifax caused harm and it presents two victims of the breach, Brian F. Spector and James McGonnigal.

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If you're among the roughly 44 percent of the US population who is potentially jeopardized by the Equifax breach, there's a significant chance you or someone in your family has had their personal data compromised. If you notice any suspicious transactions, notify your financial institution immediately. They can saddle you with speeding tickets, steal your tax refund, swipe your Social Security check and prevent you from getting prescription drugs.

Put a fraud alert on your file. This means that a lender must contact you to verify your identity before it issues credit in your name.

Customers provide LifeLock with their Social Security number, birthdate and other data, and the company scans for credit applications, mortgage loan applications, address changes and other signs of identity theft.

Since cybercriminals may have accessed what Ulzheimer calls the "crown jewels of information" at Equifax, he also suggests putting a long term freeze on your credit.

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