That PIN can then be used to temporarily unfreeze a report when someone legitimately applies for credit.
The breach affected about 143 million in the United States, as well as some people in Canada and the United Kingdom, but Equifax didn't provide a number. Names, addresses, birth dates, Social Security numbers, driver's license numbers and other information are held by Equifax. Equifax is offering free identity theft protection and credit-file monitoring to USA consumers.
To check whether you have been impacted by the Equifax data breach, please visit: https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/potential-impact/. 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 USA 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.
But signing up for the service could create additional problems for users/customers. If you contact any one of the three major credit reporting agencies, fraud alerts will be automatically added by the other two agencies as well. You can sign up at the same site listed above, and the deadline to do so is November 21. This means you can not apply for new credit without lifting the freeze.
Check your credit reports from Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax - for free - by visiting annualcreditreport.com. Many are hesitant to provide more information to the company that lost it in the first place.
"Equifax sells services to keep your credit and your personal information secure and so it's significant that they can't keep their own information secure", Hadley said. "This will prevent anyone but you from accessing them, thus making it impossible to take out a loan or line of credit". A fraud alert flags your account, but does not automatically halt new credit being opened in your name.
The credit reporting agencies may charge a fee, usually under $10, depending on which state you live in. I would also encourage anyone who chooses to sign up for the services Equifax is offering to not rely exclusively on it for credit and identity protection. (ANTM - Free Report) and Sony Corporation (SNE - Free Report) have also been victims of cyber attack, when fraudsters stole large number of consumer data. Such PINs could potentially be brute-forced by someone attempting to unlock a credit report for the objective of identity theft.
U.S. Rep. Jeb Hensarling, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, said he will call for Congressional hearings.
The company also has a website where you can check whether or not you have been the victim of a data breach.
Lastly the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the nation's watchdog entity for financial issues, says it has the authority to investigate the data breach, and fine and sanction Equifax if warranted.