Massachusetts AG Healey to sue credit reporting firm Equifax

Massachusetts AG Healey to sue credit reporting firm Equifax

The effects of the Equifax hack could take time to appear, Schulz warned. Such action makes it more hard for someone to open a new account in your name.

"Credit monitoring isn't bad but it's not enough", says Stein.

Since cybercriminals may have accessed what Ulzheimer calls the "crown jewels of information" at Equifax, he also suggests putting a long term freeze on your credit.

Equifax did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday. This happened while Equifax lobbies to repeal federal rules that bar financial companies from forcing aggrieved customers into arbitration for the company's mistakes, making them unable to join powerful class action lawsuits.

Equifax and its fellow credit monitoring giants, TransUnion and Experian, have always been the black hole of financial services, usually escaping the regulatory spotlight.

"You should be concerned because they have access to your name, date of birth, social security number, home address and possibly even some of your credit card numbers", says MMFCU Vice President Amber Morgan. An unspecified number of United Kingdom and Canadian residents were hit, plus the credit card numbers for 209,000 people and certain dispute documents for 182,000 people in the US.

"A security freeze is the most effective measure against "new account" identity theft, because it stops thieves from using the consumer's stolen information", says Chi Chi Wu, a staff attorney at the National Consumer Law Center.

Parrell Grossman, director of the Consumer Protection Division in the attorney general's office, said people are entitled to a free credit report each year from each of the three credit reporting agencies.

Go the 3 credit bureau websites: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion.

The lawsuit notes Equifax has offered complimentary identity theft protection, but it expires in a year, forcing customers to pay about $20 per month to keep the service. Users on Twitter report trying again and again to secure credit freezes, with both the website and phone systems failing. Don't give out personal information to those who contact you unexpectedly (even if they say they want to help you) and be wary about clicking on links or downloading attachments in messages.

This is important because it will provide you with a document you'll need to send to other businesses where fraudulent accounts were opened - not because the government will start investigating your personal case.

If you decide against a credit freeze, consider placing a fraud alert on your files.

"The creditor will have a higher tendency to believe you if you have the police report", Wu said.

In addition to being subject to your state laws, the cost may also vary by agency. The Equifax debacle must remind the Senate why the rules should stay.

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