Attorney general offers advice on what to about the Equifax breach

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Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey put her state on track to be the first to sue Equifax Inc. over a massive data breach that affected about 143 million US consumers, including 3 million in her state.

The company set up a dedicated website for consumers to check if their records were part of the breach, and is giving those affected a free year of free credit monitoring and identity theft protection from their subsidiary, TrustedID Premier.

Depending on the state, consumers can sue Equifax for up to $25,000 (£19,000).

Below are additional steps that consumers should take. All consumers are entitled to obtain a free copy of their credit report from each of these companies every 12 months. When he and his daughter went to the approved site to see if they were affected, they got a red screen stating 'deceptive site ahead'.

Consumers should closely monitor annual credit reports and remain vigilant, according to AP Business Writer Ken Sweet. Equifax, though, is waiving the fee in the wake of the breach.

In an analysis yesterday of the Equifax breach, IT security writer Brian Krebs recommended that people who believe their data is at risk should file a security freeze with the major credit bureaus. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman opened an investigation last week, while CT and other states have said they'd seek information about the breach. Keep in mind that a credit freeze won't prevent your creditors from reporting your payments on existing accounts to the credit bureaus.

A coalition of groups representing a wide swath of economic sectors-including retail, travel, real estate, and hospitality-sent a letter to U.S. House and Senate leaders [PDF] urging Congress to pass legislation that would make standards uniform across the country and across industries.

Consider enrolling in a credit monitoring service. Credit monitoring companies make big money; a year ago, Equifax had net income of almost $500 million on revenues of more than $3.1 billion.

Know that protecting your personal information is of paramount importance for your bank. Accounts or activity that you do not recognize could indicate identity theft.

If using Wi-Fi, make sure the Wi-Fi connection is secure before submitting personal information. For more information, visit or call 202 408 4600.

To protect your legal rights, you will need to "dispute" the error by sending a dispute in writing to the three reporting agencies (not just to the lender/creditor). While financial institutions, including credit unions, have been subject to federal standards on data security since the passage of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, retailers and many other entities that handle sensitive personal financial data are not subject to these same standards.

Collect your mail promptly. The service is free, but most alerts last only 90 days unless you renew them. You'll have to thaw it when you are really applying for credit. As a result, the personal information of 78.8 million insured customers was stolen. Change the password and move on.

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