Minnesota Commerce Department offers advice on Equifax breach - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Minnesota Commerce Department offers advice on Equifax breach

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -

143 million people had their information leaked with the Equifax data breach.

That's just less than half of all Americans but could be up to two-thirds of all Americans who have credit history.

Because of this many are scrambling to make sure their identity stays safe.

Ann Northcutt was among the 143 million whose data is now possibly in the hands of hackers. 

Name, home address, birth date, Social Security Numbers, everything someone would need to steal an identity.

"So I just feel like I have to settle down and not have a heart attack or a stroke about it," Northcutt said.

She followed all recommendations to mitigate any damage this breach could have caused.

"I talked to my financial adviser and he said sign up for something for protection," Northcutt said.

Even going as far as canceling one of her credit cards immediately.

If you want to follow her lead, the Minnesota Commerce Department has come out with some tips.

Check your credit reports with scrutiny. You're allowed one free check a year.

You can request a security freeze on your credit report or even  place a fraud alert on it.

Doing that would add an extra step to verify your identity whenever you apply for credit.

According to experts at merchants bank, even seeking help from Equifax isn't a bad idea.

"Consider taking advantage of the free credit monitoring service that Equifax is offering," Bob Root, with Merchants Bank, said.

They also suggest that even if the web tool that Equifax has offered suggests you weren't impacted, its better to be safe than sorry.

"It's an opportunity for people to look at the information they have out there and how they can monitor and protect themselves and it's just going to be considered best practices going forward in today's world," Root said. "It's probably not the last breach that we will see."

But even with all precautions, some think Equifax has to do more to make it up to them.

"I hope there's a class action lawsuit against them," Northcutt said. "I would certainly sign up for that."

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