• Equifax takes down customer service page after new hack

    By: KEN SWEET, AP Business Writer


    NEW YORK - Equifax has taken down one of its web pages after reports that another part of its web site had been hacked as well.

    The news comes as Equifax Inc. continues to deal with the aftermath of hackers breaking into its system earlier this year which allowed the personal information of 145.5 million Americans to be accessed or stolen.

    [Equifax data breach: How to recover your credit freeze PIN]

    Hackers reportedly altered Equifax's credit report assistance page that would send users malicious software pretending to be Adobe Flash.

    Equifax said that, out of an abundance of caution, the Atlanta company has taken the affected page offline, and it's looking into the matter.

    7 big questions (and answers) involving Equifax data breach

    Is this a big deal?

    Yes. 145.5 million Americans’ personal information is vulnerable. That includes names, Social Security numbers, and even some driver’s license numbers.

    What should I do right away?

    First, freeze your credit and freeze your children's credit too. Criminals often open accounts in children's names because they won’t find out until they’re adults.

    Second, sign up for free credit monitoring.

    What credit monitoring should I use?

    Equifax is offering free credit monitoring for one year. But many experts say don’t do it (including several state Attorneys General).  They say it won’t hurt, but that it won’t help either.  Many experts recommend Credit Karma instead. 

    How do I freeze my credit?

    Make sure you do it with all three credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.

    Don’t worry: it doesn’t hurt your credit score.

    More information here.

    Are there any cons to freezing my credit?

    First, there’s a small fee: usually $5-$10.

    Second, if you need to borrow money, you’ll need to lift the freeze.  It can take a few minutes or a few days to thaw (not terrible, but just be aware if you’re in a rush). 

    If you thaw it, just remember to freeze it again right after.

    Third, a freeze prevents criminals from opening new accounts in your name, but it doesn’t prevent them from messing with your current accounts. 

    Keep an eye on your bank, credit card, and other accounts (which you should be doing anyway). 

    Click here for more information about possible fees

    Can I sue Equifax?

    Yes.  You can always sue. 

    Winning is a different story.  You’d have to prove the breach hurt you somehow. 

    There are several potential class actions already in the works.  Typically, in those cases, you don’t have to do anything. They’ll contact you if you are a member of the class, then it’s up to you if you want to be included.

    Will Equifax call me out of the blue?

    No.  If someone calls, claiming to be with Equifax, needing your personal information, hang up. 

    It’s a scam.

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