Equifax hack: Steps to help protect your information from being misused

University data was not part of Equifax data breach; OIS provides useful links

How Much Will the Data Breach Cost Equifax?

Maybe it has something to do with the stock market because according to Bloomberg News Chief Financial Officer John W. Gamble, Joseph M. Loughran III the president of US information solutions, and Rodolfo O. Ploder, the president of workforce solutions apparently sold large amounts of their shares of Equifax stock and totaled in almost $1.8 million in a matter of days after the breach was discovered on July 29. Experian Plc, Equifax and TransUnion, the three biggest USA credit-reporting companies, uncovered cases in 2013 where hackers gained illegal, unauthorized access to user information.

Equifax also is offering a free year of credit protection service through this site.

Understandably, many are skeptical or suspicious of signing up for these offered services through Equifax.

Equifax is one of the three biggest companies that track consumers' credit histories and sell the information to lenders looking to evaluate customers' creditworthiness.

Equifax also acknowledged that its language particularly over the right to sue has been confusing at best, and said it was removing that language from their website. People are actually searching more for "LifeLock" than for "identity theft", he noted. If you notice any suspicious transactions, notify your financial institution immediately. Later, you can ask each service to unfreeze access to your account at any time if you want to.

Don't provide any personal information.

Consumers can contact a dedicated call center at 866-447-7559 to determine if you have been affected by the breach. On its website the company characterized the change as a "clarification".

Enable Two-Factor Authentication. Equifax was hacked, but your cell phone wasn't. If so, sign up for them. 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.

Consumers must create credit freezes separately at each of the three credit bureaus, which along with Equifax includes Experian and Transunion (TRU). But one way to stop those types of attempts from succeeding is by "freezing" your credit report, which means no entity can access it without your approval.

Then, request a copy of your credit report. This will only prevent new accounts from being opened in your name - keep in mind that the majority of identity theft occurs on existing accounts.

Equifax often charges consumers a fee, including if they need to replace the insecure credit-freeze PIN previously generated by the data broker.

Patrick McKenzie has written a guide for individuals dealing with personal fallout from the breach, to help them decide what they should do to protect themselves and their credit.

Put a fraud alert on your file. If you are active duty military, you can also file a one-year fraud alert while you are deployed.

You'll be directed to a screen that lists the steps of the process.

Currently, Equifax carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Some are being told: "Based on the information provided, we believe that your personal information may have been impacted by this incident".

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