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Equifax says no breach: 5 things to protect yourself this weekend

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Thomas Gnau and Max Filby, daytondailynews.com

Equifax said its systems were not breached Thursday and blamed a third party vendor for running malicious code.

The company has been in the spotlight for admitting last month that it suffered a “cyber-security incident” that affected tens of millions of American consumers.

Last week, Equifax said that a completed review of the summer cyberbreach determined that about 2.5 million additional U.S. consumers were potentially impacted, for a total of 145.5 million people.

On Thursday, a security analyst reported a link on the Equifax website redirected him to a third-party site that encouraged him to download malware.

“The issue involves a third-party vendor that Equifax uses to collect website performance data, and that vendor’s code running on an Equifax website was serving malicious content,” Equifax said in a statement. “Since we learned of the issue, the vendor’s code was removed from the web page and we have taken the web page offline to conduct further analysis.”

Security analyst Randy Abrams said he encountered the malicious link when downloading his credit report. A link on the Equifax site directs users to an announcement that the credit report assistance page is down for maintenance.

“Equifax can confirm that its systems were not compromised and that the reported issue did not affect our consumer online dispute portal,” a company statement said.

Here are five things you can do this weekend if you’re worried about your personal data being used following the Equifax hack:

1. Visit Equifaxsecurity2017.com and enter your information to see if Equifax believes your data may have been exposed. Either way, the company is offering free identity-theft insurance, third-party credit-file monitoring, a credit report and other services.

2. If you don’t take action to protect yourself, hackers could eventually sell your data to other criminals who could then use it to take out loans in your name, get credit cards, perpetuate tax fraud, access your medical benefits and countless other illegal activities.

3. Experts say freezing your credit is one line of defense. That way, if criminals try to use your personal data to take out a loan, credit or services in your name, they’ll be blocked from doing so.

“When there’s a potential loss of data or (a sign that) data has been compromised, the first thing not to do is start covering your own butt,” Shawn Walker, co-founder and vice president of Miamisburg-based Secure Cyber Defense, told this media outlet.

4. To freeze your credit, you can call these credit report companies:

Equifax: Call 1-800-349-9960 or visit Freeze.equifax.com/.

Experian: Call 1‑888‑397‑3742 or visit Experian.com/news/security-freeze.html.

TransUnion — Call 1-888-909-8872 or visit Transunion.com/credit-freeze/place-credit-freeze.

Innovis — Call 1-800-540-2505 or visit Innovis.com/personal/securityFreeze.

Fees vary by state and range from about $5 to $10.

5. People are advised to access a free copy of their credit report from the major credit reporting companies annually, but to better protect yourself there are a number of services that you can pay for to monitor credit, including MyFico and LifeLock.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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