Everything You Need to Know to Survive the Equifax Data Theft

"Watchdog, could you do a column on what steps to take to try to protect those affected by the massive Equifax breach? I want to move forward in trying to protect us, but am not sure what all I need to do." - Cheryl DeJulius, Plano.Right on, Cheryl. Let's do this.Dave, how bad is the data theft?Bad. Bad. Bad. Six out of every 10 American adults are affected. Thieves stole names, birth dates, addresses, Social Security numbers and some driver's license numbers. Consumerist.com calls it "the identity theft jackpot." Imagine how quickly any two-bit crook can do damage with that information. They can raid your bank account, file false tax returns with the IRS in your name, open accounts anywhere pretending to be you.Equifax handled the crisis correctly, right?Are you kidding? This is a classic example of an American company screwup. Put aside, for now, the loss of highly personal data, Equifax failed to announce the theft for more than a month. The announcement was without details. The company's offer for one year of free ID theft protection was insincere and designed for profit. The personal ID numbers assigned by Equifax to complaining customers were easy to crack because they were date and time stamped.Well ...Wait. There's more. The website Equifax created to check to see if your data was stolen--equifaxsecurity2017.com -- is unreliable. And here's what bothers The Watchdog the most: three top Equifax executives sold nearly $1.8 million in stock in the days after Equifax discovered the cyber attack but before it was announced -- and the stock price dropped.  Continue reading...

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