Consumer alert from Equifax affects millions

MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - There's an alert in effect for more than half of all U.S. consumers. It involves a breach at one of the nation's largest credit reporting agencies,
Equifax.

From mid-May through July of this year the personal information of 143 million consumers was exposed in that breach.

Administrators for Meridian Mutual Federal Credit Union say it's important to find out whether your information was compromised.

"You should be concerned because they have access to your name, date of birth, social security number, home address and possibly even some of your credit card numbers," says MMFCU Vice President Amber Morgan.

Bankers say all too often victims' information is sold on something called, 'the dark web'. Once it is there, that information can be used to get credit cards, to take out loans and even access the victim's personal accounts.

Morgan says help is available for victims of the Equifax breach.

"Equifax has a product called Trusted ID Premier," says Morgan. "That's normally a product that they charge for, but they're offering it to every consumer in the United States for one year free. It will help track your information for identity theft or credit card fraud."

In general, Morgan says it's also important to check your credit report at least once a year. This can be done by logging on to www.annualcreditreport.com.

For people who are victims of identity theft, she says the key is to address the problem as soon as possible.

"Because it can get out of control in a heart beat," says Morgan.

To find out if your information was compromised, click the attached link. Identity theft victims are advised to call the Identity Theft Hotline. That number is 1-877-ID-THEFT.