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BBB: Equifax announces data breach that potentially exposed info

143 million Americans could have been affected
Posted at 10:40 AM, Sep 11, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-11 12:58:34-04

According to the Better Business Bureau, credit monitoring company, Equifax, announced a data breach that potentially exposed personal information of 143 million Americans. Information compromised includes social security numbers, dates of birth, and in some cases, drivers license numbers and credit card numbers. 

If your social security number has been exposed, consider putting a credit freeze or fraud alert on your credit reports with the three major credit reporting agencies. Head here for a list of those agencies, https://www.bbb.org/council/news-events/news-releases/2017/09/bbb-tip-credit-freezes-and-fraud-alerts/ 

A credit freeze will prevent anyone from accessing your credit report or scores. This means you cannot apply for new credit without lifting the freeze. A fraud alert flags your account, but does not automatically halt new credit being opened in your name. It's important to remember that while a credit freeze offers powerful protection, and a fraud alert may also be useful, neither is a guarantee. They will not prevent all forms of identity theft, and will not protect you from misuse of existing accounts.

Be vigilant in checking your accounts and your credit. 

Be wary of ads, emails, and social media messages for other services. Everyone should check their credit reports regularly, whether or not they have been the victim of a data breach.

Monitor your credit card statements carefully. Go online; don't wait for the paper statement. If you see a fraudulent charge, report it to your bank or credit card issuer immediately so the charge can be reversed and a new card issued.

Beware of scammers who may purport to be from the retailer, your bank, or your credit card issuer, telling you that your card was compromised and suggesting actions to "fix" the problem. Phishing emails may attempt to fool you into providing your credit card

Check with the website of the company that was breached for the latest information. Type the company name directly into your browser. Do not click on a link from an email or social media message.

Better Business Bureau has a number of resources to help you protect your identity and money. Find more at https://www.bbb.org/