Since news of the Equifax data breach first broke, we've kept you updated with all of the details and an explanation of how this breach impacts you personally.
In case you missed it, we now know that as many as 143 million Americans were impacted by a massive data breach at Equifax. Information including names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses, and the numbers of some drivers licenses, were accessed by cybercriminals.
Credit card numbers for 209,000 Americans were also exposed. And it looks as though Equifax could have prevented this whole thing from happening, but left the door wide open to hackers.
Because of the media frenzy caused by this breach, sifting out fact and fiction can be somewhat overwhelming. Recently, we fact-checked six of the most popular rumors that were spreading, including your rights to sue Equifax if you sign up for the company's free credit monitoring program.
More bad news for victims
Unfortunately, things aren't getting much better for victims. As more details are released, additional concerns have emerged. Since Equifax's free credit monitoring services can't really be trusted, the best thing victims could do was freeze their credit with each of the three major credit bureaus.
Freezing your credit means that creditors can't access any of your credit files unless the freeze is lifted. But there's just one problem: Another security gap has been discovered with Equifax's frozen files.
It all boils down to the PIN you're given when you freeze your credit. If thieves have access to all of your private information, this PIN is the only thing that stops them from just removing the freeze you've set up.
We've taught you several techniques for creating uncrackable passwords, so we know you're good in that area. But, unfortunately, when you freeze your credit with Equifax, the company chooses the PIN for you.
For the most security, we've told you how important it is to have complex passwords and PINs so hackers can't easily guess, or use a computer program to figure out how to access your account.