It will take more than words to make data loss right

Published 8:56 pm Tuesday, September 12, 2017

If the breadth of financial data lost from Equifax is being accurately reported, then most of us likely have been affected.

The credit monitoring company exposed vital information of 143 million Americans. That’s most of the adult population in the country.

Unlike most online security breaches, you do not have to be customer of Equifax to have been affected. The company tracks detailed financial information on all Americans to gauge their credit worthiness. Other companies you likely do business with access that information through Equifax.

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The company said it will send a notice to everyone who has been affected. It said it will also offer free credit monitoring for a year, which you can sign up for on its website.

In the end, it’s probably best just to assume you have been affected. So what should you do?

Below are a few more tips from The Associated Press.

• Closely monitor their own credit reports, which are available free once a year, and stagger them to see one every four months.

• Stay vigilant, possibly for a long time. Scammers who get ahold of the data could use it at any time — and with 143 million to choose from, they may be patient.

  Consider freezing your credit reports. That stops thieves from opening new credit cards or loans in your name, but it also prevents you from opening new accounts. So if you want to apply for something, you need to lift the freeze a few days beforehand.

Some have opted to sue the company, and while that may bring a minuscule amount of financial relief, it will do little to ensure your identity is safe.

A company that operates as a safe warehouse of sensitive financial information should do that one job without fail. That’s not what happened and most, if not all, of us will pay the price. The company has apologized, but it will take more than words to make this right.