That PIN can then be used to temporarily unfreeze a report when someone legitimately applies for credit. The perpetrators exploited a vulnerability in a U.S. website application to gain access to confidential information - including names, social security numbers, birth dates, addresses and driver's license numbers, as well as around 209,000 credit card numbers - over a two month period from May 2017.
Maine's Bureau of Consumer Credit Protection is urging Mainers to consider temporarily freezing their credit report information to protect sensitive information such as their Social Security numbers that might have been comprised in a huge security breach at the credit reporting agency Equifax Inc. While it's unlikely many Australians were directly affected, the nature of the breach highlights why mandatory data breach notification laws are important, that notification periods are critical and you need to ensure you're ready to communicate with anyone whose data your store. Not only was it hacked, resulting in the theft of the personal info 143 million Americans, its overly complicated system for informing users if their data was stolen has gotten all kinds of clap back.
Enroll in a credit monitoring service.
The language has now been taken out of the agreement and consumers are free to pursue legal action against the credit reporting company. Often, victims of identity theft can freeze their credit at no charge.
The company set up a website, www.equifaxsecurity2017.com, that consumers can use to determine whether their information was compromised.
In addition, hackers got more detailed information from consumers who were already challenging information on their credit reports, said McConville.
Anxious about Equifax data breach? Here's what state advises
Credit bureau staff will review your report with you. The amount of the charge depends on where you live. Fees to freeze your account vary by state, but commonly range from $5 to $10.
Corporate culture could also be a factor.
For those with a mathematical bent, Mark Stockley, founder of the web consultancy Compound Eye and a writer for Sophos's Naked Security blog, calculated the statistical challenge facing any attacker who wanted to brute-force unlock a frozen Equifax credit report. Consumers will have to take the time to place a freeze at each bureau separately.
U.S. Rep. Jeb Hensarling, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, said he will call for Congressional hearings.
Several state attorneys general have also said they would investigate, including those from New York, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania.
Equifax also reported that it had tripled its call center team to more than 2,000 agents and was taking other steps to assist consumers who might be affected by the data breach.
However, sensitivity of the information exposed in Equifax's data breach case makes it one of the worst in recent times as well as bigger than those at the aforementioned companies. A few days after the data hack was discovered, they sold $1.8 million in shares of stock in the company.