7 ON YOUR SIDE: Equifax hack – How to protect yourself

Equifax Breach (ABC7)

With one in three Americans targeted, security experts are calling the Equifax hack the largest data breach since the 2015 hack of the Office of Personnel Management.

Equifax has set up With the last 6 digits of a social security number and a last name, Equifax’s website will show whether they believe your data was compromised. Exploited data includes social security numbers, last names and driver’s license numbers.

To sign up for the free credit monitoring service offered by Equifax, the company says you sign away your right to sue.

"The arbitration clause and class action waiver included in the TrustedID Premier Terms of Use applies to the free credit file monitoring and identity theft protection products, and not the cybersecurity incident," said Equifax spokesperson Francesca De Giolami.

7 On Your Side received viewer complaints about difficulty in reaching the Equifax help hotline listed on their website. 7 On Your Side put it to the test, calling 866-447-7559 multiple times Friday morning. 4 attempts resulted in hang-ups or busy signals. One attempt resulted in an Equifax employee saying their phone system was down Friday morning but that it’s now operational.

WalletHub Analyst Jill Gonzalez recommends two factor authentication for any email accounts linked to a credit card.

“When you try to log in, every time, you'll get a text on your phone with a code that only you have. That's the one thing hackers have not gotten access to.”

There is a drastic and temporary option to stop any possible fraud.

“Putting a freeze on all three of your major reports. Obviously Equifax, but Experian and TransUnion too will make it impossible for anyone, including you, to open a new line of credit,” explained Gonzalez.

Gonzalez added it’s not enough to file a report on a fraudulent charge – suppressing that charge is preferred.

“One, it's going to involve filing a police report. Number two, you're going to need an affidavit from the FTC,” said Gonzalez.

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