You've probably heard about the Equifax hack, but do you fully understand the impact on you?
This summer, hackers made off with the most crucial tools that identity thieves need to impersonate you.
Nearly half of all Americans could be at risk.
Here's what the thieves got: social security numbers, birth dates, addresses and driver's license numbers. They also got more than 200,000 credit card numbers.
KELOLAND News told you right away what website to go to see if your information was compromised.
But now our investigation had discovered that even the website that is supposed to give you that information may not be completely trustworthy and when it comes right down to it, there's very little monitoring or auditing of credit reporting agencies to protect your information from being hacked.
If you haven't done so already, you should go to this tool provided by Equifax to see if your information has been compromised.
But it's far from perfect as this Twitter follower found out last week, who tried the last name Johnson and 6 random numbers and was told he was affected.
Since then, Equifax says it has revised its tool to provide more clear results
While Equifax has since reversed this, its initial offer for free credit-monitoring services required consumers to agree to mandatory arbitration. That means you'd give up your right to join a class action suit over the breach.
Arbitration is slated to be barred in the financial industry next year by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, but Republicans have sought to reverse that ruling.
Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren Tweeted:
In March, South Dakota Sen. Mike Rounds told KELOLAND News he wanted to dismantle the CFPB
“It's not approved by Congress and there's no oversight, there's not even a board of directors for CFPB. You've got one person who has more power than, as one person said, than the President of the United States," Sen. Rounds said in March.
While the CFPB does have some authority over credit bureaus, it leaves data privacy enforcement up to the main regulator in charge of it, the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC does not have the ability to impose big fines when major breaches like the one at Equifax happen.
Equifax reported late last week it was working out problems with the website and encourages anyone who had problems with it to go back and try again. It's also tripled its call center team to over 2,000 agents and says it will continue to add agents.
Ways to Protect Your Credit:
Freeze your credit
When you do that, you have to provide a pin to unfreeze it in order to open an account.
It can also cost you $10 at each credit reporting agency and you have to contact all three.
You only have to contact one of the bureaus to set up a fraud alert. That means credit card companies will be required to verify your identity before opening an account. A fraud alert lasts for 90 days.
You're also allowed by law a free credit report from each of the three credit bureaus once a year. You should go over yours' carefully to spot any inaccuracies or fraud.
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