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Only Canadians with dealings in United States likely affected

14 September, 2017, 00:33 | Author: Paula Vaughn
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What a mess, and I don't mean Hurricane Irma's destructive impact.

More than 700,000 Nebraskans had their personal information exposed because of the massive security breach at credit reporting company Equifax Inc.

Canadian and American credit files must be kept separate due to differences in the various laws within the US and Canada, according to the Equifax Canada website.

Schneiderman says hackers accessed names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some instances, driver's license numbers for more than 8 million NY residents.

The New York State Attorney General's office has also launched a formal investigation into the incident.

"We pride ourselves on being a leader in managing and protecting data, and we are conducting a thorough review of our overall security operations", said Richard Smith, Equifax chairman and chief executive, when the breach was revealed.

Rather than going through the trouble of filing a small claims lawsuit yourself, you're likely better off joining one of the class-action lawsuits against Equifax, which will greatly limit the amount of time and energy required to file your own complaint.

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But really, we just have to take a moment and let our collective jaws hang open in abject stupefaction. Call the credit card company or bank immediately about any charges you do not recognize.

Equifax's website said "System Currently Unavailable - Error 500" and suggested consumers try contacting the other credit bureaus. And to do it securely! Problem is, Equifax has the ability to respond to these lawsuits in a way that will make life far more hard for the plaintiffs.

In other words, the vast majority of adults in America. That would be inept.

Since Social Security numbers were affected, there is risk of tax fraud. "The estimates we've received in terms of Rhode Islanders is roughly half the state - 500,000 people potentially - have had some type of information compromised".

Also known as a security freeze, this tool lets you restrict access to your credit report, which in turn makes it more hard for identity thieves to open new accounts in your name.

People who are anxious about their credit information being compromised and potential identity theft have been urged to contact Equifax as well as rival rating agencies TransUnion and Experian to get their credit frozen, or at the very least, monitored. The public backlash prompted Equifax to back off that brazen demand, but what happens after the year is up? Right now, that feels nearly like a ransom to companies that hoard our personal information but can't or don't care enough to protect it.

The credit reporting company will then investigate the disputed item (s), which usually takes 30 days, and they will report their results to the company that originally sent them the information you are disputing. Security experts say that whenever possible, organizations should identify as many details as possible about a breach, such as who was affected, so that the notification doesn't just cause panic, but instead gives breach victims the information they need to safeguard themselves, as much as possible (see Data Breach Notifications: What's Optimal Timing?). These companies play a huge role in our lives, but they simply aren't accountable, and are often unavailable, to consumers at all.

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