Class-action lawsuits filed against Equifax following massive data breach

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The Equifax data breach that exposed the personal data on 143 million US consumers has led to questions about the credit reporting company's response to the security incident.

"If there is a breach and you're concerned about identity theft, credit monitoring is not the most effective measure", Chi Chi Wu, a lawyer with the National Consumer Law Center, told NBC News.

If you do find out that someone has created a new account in your name, you'll have to prove that you didn't open the account and you might have to clear bad debt information from your credit report.

The Iowa Attorney General's office is urging on Iowans to "act now" following a massive data breach involving the credit reporting company Equifax. Hackers or their customers could potentially open credit cards or other forms of credit in someone else's name but change the home addresses on the accounts so that it's hard for us to detect.

Originally there was speculation that enrollment would've prevented you from suing the company or joining a class action lawsuit related to the credit breach.

Equifax's data breach notification was officially made last week, almost six weeks after the intrusion, which exposed addresses, birth dates and Social Security numbers, was discovered by the company. Equifax told USA Today that it needed six numbers to verify customers' potential breaches, but an identity theft expert told the newspaper that people should be wary about giving more information because Equifax has "been compromised and should no longer be trusted". We have to deal with credit rating agencies to operate in this world.

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Equifax, one of the "big three" credit-reporting agencies and a broker in personal-identifying data, announced September 7 "a cybersecurity incident", as stated in a mea culpa by its Chairman and CEO Richard Smith. To avoid difficulties that could be caused by a freeze, he recommended that people first obtain credit reports and sign up for monitoring before requesting to freeze their files.

"Just tried to place a credit freeze on the Equifax [phone] line", wrote Michael Munn, a 59-year-old small business owner from Colleyville, Texas in an email to NBC News.

The website will also provide you with a recovery plan after you submit the information.

A freeze takes your credit report out of circulation. The free service apparently helped overturn 375,000 tickets in the UK, New York, and Seattle, worth $10 million in total. In some cases, the creditor may also ask for a police report, which you must file with local law enforcement first. "Hackers are resourceful criminals who are constantly looking to exploit any vulnerabilities, and I encourage everyone to educate themselves about how to best protect their personal information".

The statement of claim alleges Equifax breached its contract with class members as well as their privacy rights, was negligent in handling their information, and breached provincial privacy statutes.

As you consider opting out, you should know that prescreened offers can provide many benefits, especially if you are in the market for a credit card or insurance. Several readers said they received error messages there, too, when they tried to get a copy of their report.

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