Canada watchdog asks Equifax to help citizens impacted by breach

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Wealthy consumers are particularly at risk for having their personal information used by identity thieves, the Journal says.

The House Financial Services Committee will hold hearings into the massive data security breach at Equifax, but some lawmakers are not waiting to demand answers.

"Regardless of whether you're affected or not, I recommend freezing your credit report".

They said that now is the time to be looking at your bank statements and credit reports more often.

— Closely monitor their own credit reports, which are available free once a year, and stagger them to see one every four months.

Place a fraud alert on your credit reports, as this provides an extra layer of protection and would make it hard for an identity thief to open an account in your name Fraud alerts are free and stay on your report for 90 days. If you're one of the millions affected by the breach, a chatbot can now help you sue Equifax in small claims court, potentially letting you avoid hiring a lawyer for advice.

To enroll, go to www.equifaxsecurity2017.com and click on the Check Potential Impact tab. It doesn't ask for any other documents or even your Social Security number, said John Krebs, an attorney at the Federal Trade Commission.

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Obtaining such personal information makes it easy for hackers to steal an individual's ID, apply for loans, credit cards, and even government benefits. Then you'll be given a date when you can return to the site and sign up for the monitoring service.

Several law firms have already announced lawsuits against Equifax, and are all seeking to become class-action cases.

"The stock sale certainly raises questions", Dimitri Sirota, co-founder and CEO of BigID, an identity data protection software company, told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

You should hear from the agencies in about 30 days on how they are handling the dispute, Wu said. In addition to the credit reporting business for which it is best known, Equifax runs a profitable side business selling consumers' personal data to marketers. You are allowed a free copy once a year from each of the three credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. He says it's a good idea to freeze your credit immediately. If you believe you've been a victim of identity theft, you should also contact law enforcement.

The fraud alert usually lasts for 90 days and can be renewed.

Equifax sells marketing lists that offer "access to current personally identifiable information for over 210 million consumers". Start with putting a freeze on your credit. 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.

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