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Equifax must help victims of data hack

• Updated Sep 22, 2017 at 1:05 PM

Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery says more than 3 million state residents are victims of the Equifax hack. The security breach of the credit reporting company has put the financial and personal information of 143 million Americans at risk of abuse or fraud.

The Federal Trade Commission says the hackers stole people’s names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and driver’s license numbers. These criminals also accessed the credit card numbers of 209,000 people and the dispute documents (with personal identifying information) of another 182,000 Americans.

Slatery has correctly joined 43 other attorneys general in calling on Equifax to take steps to help victims of this breach. In particular, Slatery has asked Equifax to extend its deadline for free credit monitoring services from Nov. 21 until at least Jan. 31.

He also says Equifax should extend a Nov. 21 deadline to reimburse customer fees for freezing Equifax credit reports, and believes the company should reimburse fees from other credit reporting agencies.

That is the very least the company can do to restore the public’s trust in its services.

Tennessee officials are also asking Equifax to provide the state with copies of notices Equifax is sending to people whose dispute-related documents were accessed or credit card numbers pilfered.

This was a serious security invasion, and one that needs to be closely monitored by state and federal officials, as well as the victims and related financial organizations. The FTC is recommending Americans who think they may be among those with data compromised to go to Equifax’s website — equifaxsecurity2017.com — and click on the “Potential Impact” tab to find out if you are indeed a victim. Make sure you’re on a secure computer and an encrypted network connection when you go to the site.

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