Abilene BBB: How to protect yourself after Equifax security breach

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"That's almost one-third of the state's population; this is a huge data breach and consumers should take this news very seriously".

South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley says the data breach of credit bureau Equifax that allowed thieves to access more than 143 million American consumers' personal information included 200,000 South Dakota residents.

A major credit monitoring company admitted Thursday, Sep. "The scope of this data breach is startling", said Schwartz.

As part of its investigation into the application vulnerability, Equifax also identified unauthorised access to limited personal information of certain United Kingdom and Canadian residents.

She said Equifax houses all of your credit history, so for those who have ever used credit, Equifax has your information.

"Odds are if it's not you, it's your spouse or your significant other or a person next door", Rogers said.

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Equifax was aware of this catastrophic exposure of personal information July 29, but sat on news of the hack until it had full details of the breadth of the intrusion.

While the news has sent Equifax's shares into a tailspin, they were down 13% Friday afternoon, cybersecurity companies were climbing. The agency is further offering a free year of "identity theft protection and credit file monitoring" through its TrustedID Premier service, and individuals can enroll for the monitoring on the website that confirms whether they are affected.

Social Security Numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some cases, driver's license numbers, were exposed to hackers between mid-May and July, Jackley's consumer warning said.

Experts say it's important not to panic and insist this hack isn't "more" unsafe than past ones.

"They can take out a mortgage, they can file tax refunds, they can file for Social Security benefits, you name it". This is our personal information. This freeze should not impact your daily activities unless you plan to take out a mortgage, finance a auto or open a new credit card account. You can also place a security freeze on your account, and the FTC provides step-by-step instructions on how to do so.

Check your credit reports from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion by visiting annualcreditreport.com.

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