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5 steps you should take to protect yourself

17 September 2017

The Federal Trace Commission is investigating credit reporting agency Equifax for a massive data breach that left the personal financial data of 13 million Americans at risk of theft. "It should have never happened but it has and now we have to go froward with cleaning up the mess", said Duncan.

Ohio's Democratic U.S. Senator is introducing legislation to better protect against identity theft after data company Equifax announced a breach exposing almost half the people in the country. To do that, contact the 3 credit agencies (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion).

When I personally called the number to ask about Equifax waiving the fees for security freezes, the call center representative couldn't answer my question.

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I'm not a big fan of credit freezes.

The company has promised free credit monitoring and identity theft protection services for one year. CBS News Financial Analyst Jill Schlesinger said the best line of defense is putting your credit on ice - which you can do on the Equifax website. A security freeze (also known as a "credit freeze") locks your credit file so that no one can see your credit report or credit score unless you lift the freeze.

Equifax said that it would send letters to about 390,000 of the victims who either had credit card numbers or credit dispute statements affected.

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Lastly, you can also sign up for fraud alerts through your credit card companies and credit bureaus. A freeze restricts access to your credit report, making it almost impossible for someone to open a new account or line of credit in your name. Click on the "Potential Impact" tab and enter your last name and the last six digits of your Social Security number.

Can anyone view your credit report when it's frozen?

Geoff Greenwood, spokesman for the AG's office, says approximately 143 million consumers nationwide are affected by the breach. That's not good. The Rick Smith, Chairman and CEO of Equifax said the company is going to help. You're allowed one free check a year. The Commerce website has a form you can use to request a freeze from the three major credit reporting agencies. So sign up for the free credit monitoring. A fraud alert warns creditors that you may be an identity theft victim, so they should verify that anyone seeking credit in your name really is you.

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5 steps you should take to protect yourself