What you need to do after Equifax breach

Equifax Inc.
FILE - This July 21, 2012, file photo shows Equifax Inc., offices in Atlanta. On Monday, Sept. 11, 2017, Equifax said it has made changes to address customer complaints since it disclosed a week earlier that it exposed vital data on about 143 million Americans. Equifax has come under fire from members of Congress, state attorneys general, and people who are getting conflicting answers about whether their information was stolen. Equifax is trying again to clarify language about people’s right to sue, and said Monday it has made changes to address customer complaints. (AP Photo/Mike Stewart, File)

(WRBL) – Nearly half of all Americans may be impacted by the Equifax breach.

Thieves stole credit card numbers, social security numbers, driver’s license numbers and much more from more than 140 million Americans.

This data breach is so wide spread experts say everyone should go ahead and assume their information has been compromised.

The first thing you need to do is go to equifaxsecurity2017.com and go to the “Potential Impact” tab.

There, you’ll type in your last name and the last six digits of your social security number.

After that, you’ll get a message saying whether your personal information is at risk. If it’s at risk, freeze your credit.

To do this, you need to call the credit reporting companies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.

  • Equifax — 1-800-349-9960
  • Experian — 1‑888‑397‑3742
  • TransUnion — 1-888-909-8872

“This is the most egregious data breach we have ever seen. It is as bad as it gets,” Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey said. “If you’re a company like Equifax and you’re out there scooping up a whole bunch of data and information on people, we have laws on our books that say that you have to protect that information.”

Aside from freezing your credit, there are several other steps you can take. You can sign up for free credit monitoring on the Equifax website.

Next, check your credit reports. the Federal Trade Commission recommends visiting identitytheft.gov if it appears you’ve been a victim of identity theft.

Lastly, you can also sign up for fraud alerts through your credit card companies and credit bureaus.

Freezing your credit should prevent most forms of identity theft associated with this breach. It can be a pain because you’ll have to unfreeze it every time someone needs to run a credit check on you or if you need a loan.

The credit company may offer the option to lock your account instead of freezing it. Locking is comparable but not the same, which means you need to freeze it.

You can freeze your credit online but calling is far less risky and you may also be charged a $5 to $10.