NEW YORK — Congressional leaders are demanding a detailed explanation from Equifax aboutthat exposed sensitive information of 143 million customers, including social security numbers, birthdays and driver’s licenses — pure gold to thieves.
Business professor David Anderson fell victims to two other major hacks, and now, he’s a victim of thebreach.
“I’m Equifax’s product. They’re taking my information about me and selling it, and then they release that out to who knows who,” Anderson said.
Eva Velasquez of the non-profit Identity Theft Resource Center said they’re getting an earful.
“We’re hearing from folks who are complaining that they don’t understand what this means, and that they don’t understand how they are supposed to react,” she said.
The best step to take: a credit freeze — instructing credit reporting agencies to stop anyone from accessing your credit information, as they would to offer you a new credit card, for instance.
“A credit freeze will lock the criminals out of opening financial accounts in your name, but there are other types of identity theft. And that includes medical, criminal and governmental,” Velasquez said.
At first, Equifax was charging hack victims a fee for freezing their accounts. But after, it is now free.
But it’s still not a solution for Anderson. He has to keep his credit info accessible given that he’s in the process of selling his house.
“It’s definitely, definitely concerning. But even then, freezing it is still no guarantee,” he said.
But Velasquez said that at this point, it’s still the best option consumers have.
“It really is worth that little bit of inconvenience in order to basically lock it down and keep the thieves out,” she said.
Equifax declined to do an interview but says it “acted immediately” to stop the intrusion. An investigation is also underway, but some members of Congress have sent a letter to the company looking for answers to numerous questions about how this all happened.
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