We've been hearing a lot lately in the unfolding story of Equifax. That's the credit reporting bureau that announced earlier this month a cyber-security breach put millions of Americans' personal information at risk.
On Tuesday, Equifax CEO Rick Smith stepped down, in the middle of what some are calling a botched and delayed response to the hack. A number of state attorneys general are suing Equifax for the breach, but on Tuesday morning, San Francisco became the first city to sue the company for making its residents vulnerable to identity theft.
To see if you were impacted by the hack, visit Equifax's website.
The reason Equifax has so many Americans' personal information is because it's one of three major companies that track your credit card payments, mortgages, student and car loans and more - all to establish your credit score. People need that score when doing things like applying for loans or renting an apartment.
Equifax says hackers broke into its system sometime between mid-May and July, gaining access to people's social security numbers, birth dates, addresses, driver license numbers and even credit card numbers.
The company says it learned of the hacks in late July, but it didn't inform the public until early September.
Equifax is offering free credit monitoring to impacted consumers, but some people are wary of using credit monitoring offered by the same company that compromised their personal information in the first place.
Other options are available, but they are not free.
"We do have clients calling in and saying, 'What can I do?'" Claudia Zamora told ABC10.
She and her fiancé Tony Gomez are financial representatives with Primerica.
They recommend people impacted by the breach closely monitor their credit card activity for unauthorized activity.
"You need something, a system, in order to be able to monitor your credit," Gomez said. "Secondly is, you need a system to be able to have somebody to counsel with, right? There are professionals out there, where somebody can help you counsel, like, 'Hey, I think think is going on.'"
They said many people don't think to protect and monitor their kids' information.
"We've had cases where clients," Zamora explained, "and they said, 'They took my child's identity. They used my five-year-old's Social Security.'"
If people impacted by the Equifax breach don't want to take Equifax up on its offer of free credit monitoring, other companies, like Primerica, Zamora and Gomez, do offer credit monitoring for a whole family, but those services are not for free.
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