Consumers are looking for answers after Equifax announced a data breach that has exposed as many as 143 million Americans to identify fraud. Equifax, one of the largest credit-reporting agencies in the country, said that “criminals” were able to access consumers’ protected files by exploiting a website application vulnerability earlier this year.
Money expert Clark Howard said that the No. 1 way to protect yourself from identity fraud is by freezing your credit. But one of the main questions consumers want to know is what are the steps involved in freezing their credit.
The first thing you need to do is contact the three main credit agencies, Equifax, TransUnion and Experian. You can do this online or by mail. There is a modest fee associated with freezing your credit, ranging from $3 to $10 per person per bureau (in some states, it may be a bit more), but it’s a relatively small price to pay when you think of what it would cost you if your identity were stolen.
- Equifax: 1-800-349-9960
- Experian: 1-888-397-3742
- TransUnion: 1-888-909-8872
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If you have specific questions about the Equifax breach and how it may impact you, contact Clark’s Consumer Action Center — a FREE help line open Monday-Friday from 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. EST with volunteers available to answer YOUR concerns! Call Team Clark @ 404-892-8227.