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Published: Saturday, September 09, 2017 @ 4:33 PM
— Credit reporting juggernaut Equifax announced Thursday that its information was compromised in a major cyberattack affecting 143 million Americans – or two-thirds of people with credit reports.
Hackers were able to get birth dates, Social Security numbers, credit card numbers and addresses, according to Equifax, leaving some to wonder how they can protect themselves.
Here are some tips for ensuring your information is secure:
Find out whether you were affected by the hack through Equifax’s website. The site asks for a person’s last name and the last six digits of their Social Security number in order to determine whether the person was caught in the breach.
Don’t bother with Equifax’s monitoring service, Clark.com reported, noting that the company offering the service is the same one that was hacked.
“The only way to truly protect yourself is with a credit freeze,” Clark.com reported, recommending that people freeze their credit files with all three of America’s major credit reporting companies: Equifax, Experian and Transunion. Doing so does not affect whether or not a person can use already existing lines of credit.
Review your credit report and put a fraud alert on it if you are affected, Popular Mechanics suggested. A fraud alert will make it necessary for banks and credit companies to jump through extra hoops to confirm your identity. The magazine noted that a fraud alert filed with any one of America’s three credit bureaus -- Equifax, Experian and Transunion -- will be shared between the three.
Whether or not you decide to put a fraud alert on your credit file, you can still obtain a free credit report once every 12 months from each of the credit bureaus. The reports can be obtained through annualcreditreport.com or by completing and mailing an annual credit report request form, according to the Federal Trade Commission.
Published: Wednesday, March 21, 2018 @ 2:45 PM
Updated: Wednesday, March 21, 2018 @ 2:45 PM
AUSTIN, Texas — Police continue to investigate a series of deadly bombings in Austin after authorities said the suspect, identified as Mark Anthony Conditt, 23, killed himself early Wednesday.
Published: Tuesday, March 20, 2018 @ 10:05 PM
TULSA, Okla. — Residents in North Tulsa, Oklahoma, want justice for a dog they believe was killed by his owner.
James Penix said he looked out his window on Feb. 21 after hearing the screams of a dog. Penix said he saw his neighbor killing his dog named Gabriel with a dumbbell in the driveway.
Penix said he called 9-1-1 and emergency operators referred him to the City of Tulsa's animal control division. But he said responding animal welfare officials allegedly said they could not find the home involved in the dog’s death and left.
Penix began a petition on Change.org, calling for justice for Gabriel. It had more than 2,500 signatures as of Tuesday afternoon.
Animal Control reopened the investigation and will present possible charges to the Tulsa County District Attorney's Office.
An update to the petition suggests the neighbor's other dog was taken as evidence and remains in the custody of Animal Welfare.
The City of Tulsa responds to animal cruelty reports Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and forwards such calls to Tulsa Police after hours.
Published: Wednesday, March 21, 2018 @ 1:31 AM
HARRISBURG, Pa. — A Pennsylvania lawmaker has introduced legislation that could have parents footing the bill if their child bullies another kid at school.
It started out as a rule in Sharpsburg.
WPXI checked with the police officer who enforces the law and he said it is working as a deterrent.
He also said it's raised awareness of how serious bullying is, and the potential consequences.
After Brentwood and Sharpsburg passed local anti-bullying ordinances that fine parents of bullies, a state lawmaker is proposing more encompassing legislation.
State Rep. Frank Burns' bill gives parents three strikes. He's from Cambria County.
The first time a child bullies someone, the school is required to inform his or her parents how it handled the situation. If it happens a second time, parents would have to take a class on bullying and attend a bullying resolution conference.
The third time, parents would receive a court citation and pay up to a $500 fine.
Punishing parents for the actions of their kids —> Pa lawmaker proposes fining parents $500 for child's bullying. http://on.wpxi.com/2p8XrPLPosted by WPXI Courtney Brennan on Tuesday, March 13, 2018
In a statement issued last week, the Democrat said bullying can lead to physical assaults and suicide.
He said holding students, parents and officials accountable "is the only way to put an end to this scourge."
The proposal also includes an anonymous bullying reporting system requiring the state education department to track bullying incidents and file monthly reports.
Sharpsburg police have yet to file any citations against parents.
– The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Published: Wednesday, March 21, 2018 @ 2:03 AM
SNOQUALMIE NATIONAL FOREST, Wash. — A Mill Creek, Washington, man is facing charges after a treehouse was found in the Snoqualmie National Forest with child pornography hanging on the walls inside.
KIRO-TV first reported on the discovery off the middle fork of the Snoqualmie River in February. The unauthorized treehouse was reported by an employee of the Department of Natural Resources, according to court documents. A DNR worker took a couple of the photographs off the wall to show law enforcement and called the King County Sheriff's Office.
The DNR employee took a detective to the treehouse, which was described in court documents as "an elaborate tree house that resembled a fairy or gingerbread house." The treehouse was about 8 feet off the ground with a porch surrounding it.
Investigators say that inside the treehouse they found photographs of naked young girls framed on the walls. There was also a bed, food, supplies, a book and an electronic keyboard.
They found an envelope with more pornographic images.
The King County Sheriff's Office handed the case over to the FBI to investigate. The FBI sent KIRO-TV new photos of the house on Monday.
The FBI searched the cabin in April 2017 and collected items to test for fingerprints and DNA to find out who built the cabin.
They took construction photos, smoking material, bedding, glasses, photos of girls, bags of batteries and glass from the photograph frames.
They sent the items to the FBI laboratory in Quantico.
Federal investigators said they also talked to a Search and Rescue volunteer who said he had seen an SUV near the cabin on multiple occasions, and he had the license plate information. Investigators tracked down the owner of the vehicle and watched him.
Investigators said they took a swab from the handle of his motorcycle and later got a paper drinking cup he discarded. Those items were also sent to the lab in Quantico.
According to court documents, the items tested at Quantico positively identified the 56-year-old Mill Creek man. Court records show Daniel Wood, of Mill Creek, has been charged with two counts of child pornography possession.