Equifax hack: problems freezing credit

Millions of people are affected with their social security numbers, addresses and other pertinent details exposed by the massive security breach at Atlanta-based Equifax.

Cyber security expert James Azar with Cyber Hub USA in Alpharetta told FOX 5 News social media is a buzz with consumers complaining of not being able to freeze their credit on the apparently overwhelmed websites of the big three credit reporting agencies Equifax, Experian, and Transunion.

"You would expect a little more preparedness for that on the sites of those firms," said Azar.

Even if the credit reporting agencies were caught off guard, Azar said consumers don't have to be.

"They'll all have it under alerts," he said as he pointed to his bank website.

Azar showed FOX 5 News how he sets alerts on his bank website which consumers can do too.

Azar recommends placing an alert for as little as one dollar on accounts to be notified by text or email when your money is being spent by you or someone else.

"Any bank today has transaction alerts for any transaction that's done on your account, whether it's checking, saving, investment account and what not," said Azar.

Along with setting alerts, Azar recommends what Ginger Stutler is already doing, changing passwords and monitoring.

It is important information as the Federal Trade Commission confirmed it is investigating Equifax while some in Congress call for an inquiry and tougher regulations for all three credit reporting agencies.

The Associated Press reported Equifax traced the hack to a software flaw that could have been fixed well before the massive breach occurred.

For Azar, it is indicative of the fall out he expects after the massive security breach which exposed the records of 143 million American consumers.

"You're talking about an unprecedented amount of fake identities that are going to get sold to a lot of people," said Azar.

It's a prediction which also predicates Azar recommending another safety step involving changing your identification.

"When you renew your driver's license you can ask to get a new ID number. To really identify was it done by the person who stole your identity or was it you," said Azar.

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This is the statement Equifax sent FOX 5 News: