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I-TEAM: How to protect yourself against the Equifax hack

(Photo: Pixabay)

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - A massive cyber security breach at credit reporting agency Equifax has put the personal information of millions at risk.

Local cybersecurity expert Ted Roberts says these hacks are becoming all too common.

“Again? In the last five years, it seems once a year we hear about a major, major company getting hit,” says Roberts, lead developer at Kalamazoo-based Technology Solutions. “This is one of the worsts being that it's one of the big three credit monitoring services. They have everything about you."

The data breach exposes names, addresses, social security and credit card numbers of 143 million Americans.

“With that, they can use the credit card numbers that they found to use those credit cards to purchase things online. They could also use your Social Security Number to sign up for new credit cards, new bank accounts,” says Roberts. “The best thing somebody can do is sign up for credit monitoring."

You can do that with a host of companies, although some of them charge.

The big three credit agencies including Experian and Transunion also have fraud alerts.

Equifax is also offering a free year of fraud alerts.

“You can do a credit freeze which will cost you money and you have to go to each of the three to sign up for it but once it's frozen, then when somebody tries to access your account, they will be denied,” says Roberts.

Another tip---check with the Social Security Administration.

“Go to ssa.gov and log in with your social security number,” says Roberts. “It gives you a host of information that government has about your social security number so you can check for unknown activity there."

While this may all seem a bit much, Roberts says in this digital age--

“You got to be vigilant. You got to be watching your accounts all the time."

While Equifax is offering a free year of credit monitoring, the fine print of the Terms of Service agreement says signing up waives your right to join any class action lawsuits.

Have a tip for the I-Team? Email us at iteam@wwmt.com and follow me on Twitter @WalterReports and on Facebook at Facebook.com/walterreports

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