You Can Now Sue Equifax With The Click Of A Button

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The massive data breach affects 143 million people. Consumer Protection Division director Betsy Isenberg says it's up to residents to take steps to protect their information.

Equifax is one of three nationwide credit-reporting companies that track and rate the financial history of US consumers. Also, you will need to unfreeze the account if, and when, you do a legitimate credit check.

Isenberg urges consumers to limit shopping online while using a public Wi-Fi can increase your risk of being compromised.

You may have never used Equifax yourself - or even heard of it - but the credit reporting agency could still have a treasure trove of your personal information.

- Sign up for the free credit monitoring that Equifax is offering.

Another way to protect yourself is by immediately placing fraud alerts on your credit reports, according to credit expert John Ulzheimer, who previously worked at FICO and Equifax.

- Consider a credit freeze.

Originally there was speculation that enrollment would've prevented you from suing the company or joining a class action lawsuit related to the credit breach.

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Krebs said it's also a good idea to ask for fraud alerts from ChexSystems, which monitors applications for new checking and savings accounts, and to opt out of pre-approved credit offers through optoutprescreen.com.

"With a freeze in place on your credit file, ID thieves can apply for credit in your name all they want, but they will not succeed in getting new lines of credit in your name because few if any creditors will extend that credit without first being able to gauge how risky it is to loan to you (i.e., view your credit file)", Krebs wrote on his security blog.

The company suggests you sign up for credit file monitoring and identity theft protection.

A freeze takes your credit report out of circulation.

"A lot of times we download an app, and it comes with a huge screen of 26 different permissions.you've got to kind of think through that", said Cocanower. If someone else goes to take out a loan in your name, the lender will not be able to pull your report and therefore can not extend the credit. Fees to freeze your account vary by state, but commonly range from $5 to $10.

"I am extremely concerned about the Equifax data breach that exposed almost 5 million North Carolinians' personal data", said Attorney General Josh Stein.

As the magnitude of the Equifax hack sinks in, more people are realizing they've been victimized and cyber security specialists are being inundated with calls and questions about what to do next.

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