Clark Howard: 10 things you need to know about the Equifax data breach

Published: Monday, September 18, 2017 @ 4:49 PM

The Equifax Breach – How To Find Out If You are at Risk

WSB-TV News anchor Craig Lucie hosted a special one-hour Q&A with consumer adviser Clark Howard Monday morning to answer questions on the Equifax data breach.

>> Read more trending news

Questions came in on a variety of topics, and Howard was extremely passionate throughout. He gave advice on protecting credit, shared tips on which services to use and even spoke directly to Equifax executives and the company’s CEO.

Content Continues Below

At one point, Howard pointed directly into the camera and said, “Equifax, you are lame!”

It’s important to note that WSB-TV reached out to Equifax and offered company officials the opportunity to join the show. They declined.

Below are questions and Howard’s answers to some of the most-talked about topics.

What are we dealing with here? 

“This is the ugliest data breach in the history of the digital era. There is nothing else that has ever happened that is like this. There have been some very large (breaches) of medical providers, and Yahoo had the largest worldwide breach. But the information gathered was never as broad or as deep as this. 143 million Americans, this is nearly two out of three American adults with a credit file.”

Will freezing my credit negatively affect my score?

“If you freeze your credit, it has no impact at all on your existing credit, and has zero impact on your credit score ... Freezing your credit will simply prevent a criminal from opening a new account as if they were you. That’s the whole purpose of freezing your credit.”

How do I freeze my credit?

“The first thing you should do is go to Credit Karma and sign up for their self-monitor. Freeze your credit with each of the three credit bureaus HERE.”

What form do I need to mail Equifax? 

“Don’t mail a form to Equifax, do it online.” 

What about paying to freeze credit?

“It’s idiotic and mean-spirited that we have to pay a fee to lock down our own credit when we never gave these companies permission to build these documents on us. We never gave them permission to sell off our information over and over again. They created the hazard for us, both economic and moral. And now we’re left with the mess to clean up. And we have to pay to clean up their mess! How insane is it?”

How has Equifax handled the breach?

“They have been tone deaf. They don’t know how to handle this because they don’t care about us. (It’s) new territory for them.”

What will happen in the next year or two?

“There’s going to be a role for Congress to play, and a role for other American companies to play.”

How long do you think this could last? 

“These are the keys to the kingdom. These criminals have everything they need to take over your identity, and to do things as if they were you for the rest of your life.”

143 Million Could Be Affected by Equifax Data Breach

TEAM CLARK HOWARD’S CONSUMER ACTION CENTER

Libby Godwin, a volunteer with Team Clark Howard’s Consumer Action Center, said the center has been flooded with concerned callers.

“I’ve been here for 5 and a half years and it’s never been so busy,” Godwin told WSB-TV.

CAC Director Lori Silverman said the increase in calls is “unprecedented.”

“We’ve had over 1,000 calls per day,” she said. “We have a 100 percent phone use one call at a time.”

Click here to visit Clark Howard's official website, Clark.com.

Close-up of the upper corner of a consumer credit report from the credit bureau Equifax. In September of 2017, a data breach at Equifax exposed the personal information of thousands of customers. (Photo via Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images).(Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images)

Trending - Most Read Stories

Endangered sea turtle found dead with beach chair around neck prompts viral plea

Published: Sunday, July 15, 2018 @ 5:29 AM

File photo of a Kemp's ridley sea turtle on the beach.
skeeze / Pixabay.com
File photo of a Kemp's ridley sea turtle on the beach.(skeeze / Pixabay.com)

An Alabama conservation group has issued a graphic warning after an endangered sea turtle was reportedly found dead, tangled in an old beach chair.

According to WMBBFort Morgan Share the Beach posted a now-viral Facebook photo Saturday of the dead Kemp’s ridley turtle, which washed ashore at the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge.

>> On WFTV.com: ‘Sea creature’ may have bitten 14-year-old girl at Florida beach, officials say

Content Continues Below

“This makes me so mad,” the post read. “How many hundreds of times do we have to ask people to pick their stuff up? It should just be common decency. I think I am going to print this out and carry it with me next time I have to ask.”

>> See the post here (WARNING: Graphic photo)

By Sunday morning, the post had been shared more than 2,700 times, prompting hundreds of comments.

“Come on, people, if you want to ‘adult,’ then be one and pick up after yourselves,” one commenter wrote. “This is their habitat, be mindful and respect it.”

>> Read more trending news 

“Please, please. Only leave footprints,” added another. “How do we make visitors understand this?”

Read more here.

Water Safety Tip

Related

Trending - Most Read Stories

National Ice Cream Day 2018: Deals at Dairy Queen, Carvel, PetSmart and more

Published: Sunday, July 15, 2018 @ 11:17 AM
Updated: Sunday, July 15, 2018 @ 4:23 PM

Cool Things You Didn't Know About Ice Cream

If you are in the mood to scream over ice cream today, you’re in luck.

Today is National Ice Cream Day (finally), and ice cream joints across the country are offering sweet deals on your favorite flavor. 

And there are plenty of people who will take them up on the offers. Ninety-six percent of Americans surveyed by YouGov said they regularly eat ice cream.

Content Continues Below

America’s favorite ice cream flavor is chocolate, according to the survey, followed by vanilla, butter pecan, cookies and cream, mint chocolate chip, cookie dough, strawberry, pistachio, rocky road, chocolate chip and cake batter.

Don’t see your favorite there? Maybe the deals below can help. Here’s the scoop on freebies and deals being offered to celebrate ice cream.

(Note: Not every restaurant in a chain may be honoring the deals, so be sure to check with local ice cream shops to confirm which deals are available before you go.)

Baskin-Robbins: Download the Baskin-Robbins app on National Ice Cream Day to get offers such as a buy one, get one free cone, .99 cent sundaes and $2 off a medium milkshake. 

Bruster’s: Join the new Sweet Rewards loyalty program and get a $3 reward toward your ice cream purchase.

Carvel: Buy one cup or cone – any size – and get a second one free. 

Dairy Queen: Get a free small Blizzard treat when you download the Dairy Queen app and register for an account.

Dippin' Dots: You can get a free mini cup of Dippin' Dots at participating stores and shopping center locations

Monkey Joe’s: Monkey Joe’s is hosting a special customer appreciation event on Sunday with free ice cream cups for each guest while supplies last.

PetSmart – Your dog can get a doggie ice cream at PetSmart locations that have a Pets Hotel on Saturday and Sunday.

16 Handles: You can get the first 3 ounces of yogurt/toppings free from open-5 p.m. Sunday if you download the app. Check out the details of the deal here.

Sub Zero Ice Cream: Come in Monday for $1 off regular ice creams from 5 to 8 p.m. at all locations. 

Your Pie: Get free gelato on Sunday at participating restaurants. 

Yogurtland: Buy one get one free from 1-6 p.m.  

Trending - Most Read Stories

These types of pet foods could cause heart disease in dogs, report says

Published: Saturday, July 14, 2018 @ 11:15 PM

FDA Warns These Types of Pet Foods Can Cause Heart Disease in Dogs

Want to keep your pup healthy? You may have to avoid certain foods, because some could cause heart disease, according to the United States Food and Drug Administration. 

>> Read more trending news

The agency issued a warning this week after assessing reports that have associated certain diets with cardiovascular disease. 

Content Continues Below

Researchers found that pet foods with peas, lentils, potatoes and other legume seeds have been linked with instances of canine dilated cardiomyopathy, a disease of the heart muscle in dogs. The condition can enlarge the heart, often leading to heart failure.

Although the illness is typically found in larger breeds like great Danes and Newfoundlands, the FDA said “highly unusual” reports of dogs not vulnerable to the disease have contracted it. 

“That’s why the FDA is conducting an investigation into this potential link,” the organization wrote in the statement. “The FDA has been in contact with the pet food manufacturers and the veterinary community to discuss these reports and will provide updates as more information becomes available.”

For now, experts are advising pet owners to consult their veterinarians before making any changes to their pets’ diets. 

Trending - Most Read Stories

'Sea creature' may have bitten 14-year-old girl at Florida beach, officials say

Published: Sunday, July 15, 2018 @ 3:55 AM

How to Avoid a Shark Attack

A teenage girl was airlifted to the hospital Saturday after possibly being bitten by something on Playalinda Beach in Florida, according to Brevard County Fire Rescue.

>> Watch the news report here

The 14-year-old girl came out of the ocean with a severe cut on her leg, firefighters said. 

Content Continues Below

Officials said they have not yet determined if the cut was surfboard-related or from a “sea creature.” 

>> Read more trending news 

The girl was airlifted to Orlando Regional Medical Center, officials said. 

On Friday, Fernandina Beach police said two people were bitten by a shark, closing the beach there.

Trending - Most Read Stories